Date: June 13, 2014
Event: Quicken Loans 400 (Round 15 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (2-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (35.198 seconds at 204.557 mph – new track record)
SHR Lineup: Kevin Harvick (1st, 35.198 seconds at 204.557 mph)
Kurt Busch (8th, 35.636 seconds at 202.043 mph)
Tony Stewart (26th, 35.918 seconds at 200.457 mph)
Danica Patrick (27th, 35.919 seconds at 200.451 mph)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent in time trials Friday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn by winning the pole for the Quicken Loans 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. Harvick turned a lap of 35.198 seconds at 204.557 mph around the 2-mile oval to set a new track record.
Harvick’s pole speed, the fastest qualifying lap ever at a non-restrictor plate track, broke the previous Sprint Cup track qualifying record of 35.303 seconds at 203.949 mph set by Joey Logano on Aug. 16, 2013.
It was Harvick’s ninth career Sprint Cup pole, his third of the season and his first at Michigan. Harvick last won a Sprint Cup pole at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City on May 9, 2014, four races ago. Harvick has gone on to win the race from the pole four times in his career – September 2006 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, October 2013 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City and April 2014 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
It was also the 17th Sprint Cup pole for SHR since its inception in 2009 and the organization’s fourth this season.
“I think that is just a credit on our Budweiser and Stewart-Haas race team for putting fast race cars on the track,” said Harvick, who won at Michigan in August 2010. “When you put it together with the Hendrick Motorsports engine package it creates a lot of speed and it makes coming to these place a lot of fun. We’re really excited to start on the pole and get that first pit box and hopefully we can put the whole day together on Sunday.”
Qualifying consisted of three rounds. The first was 25 minutes, with every driver on the track vying to set the fastest lap. The 24 fastest drivers from the first round advanced to the second, 10-minute round. The fastest 12 drivers from that session advanced to the final, five-minute round of qualifying where they battled for the pole. Positions 1-12 were set by speeds in the final round. Positions 13-24 were set by speeds posted in the second round. The remaining 43-car field was set by speeds posted by those who did not advance past the first round.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified eighth will with a time of 35.636 seconds at 202.043 mph.
“Good effort by the Haas Automation team today,” said Busch, who won at Michigan in June 2003 and August 2007. “The No. 41 Chevrolet was fast right from the start. That said, we made qualifying interesting. It looked all good at the end, but we were close to the knockout line in each round. I think we advanced by two cars in both the first and second rounds. We ended up eighth and continue to improve each week. Good effort by all the guys today and I know we’ll be good on Sunday.”
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 26th with a time of 35.918 seconds at 200.457 mph.
“We’ve battled the same thing with our Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet all day – tight,” said Stewart,who won at Michigan in June 2000. “I couldn’t get the car to cut like I needed it. We were a little better in turn one than we were in practice but just too tight in three and four.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 27th after clocking in at 35.919 seconds at 200.451 mph.
“We just missed it in the first session,” said Patrick, who will make her third Sprint Cup start at Michigan Sunday. “I’m not sure where. We’ll have to look at the data and sort it out. I think our GoDaddy car is good, just not a good run. We’ll get after it tomorrow.”
Jeff Gordon will start on the outside of row one after clocking in at 35.333 seconds at 203.776 mph.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Dale Earnhardt Jr., Aric Almirola, Paul Menard, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Brian Vickers, Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson. All are listed in the order they’ll start Sunday’s race.
Forty-four drivers attempted to qualify for the Quicken Loans 400. Ryan Truex was the lone driver who did not make the race.
The Quicken Loans 400 gets underway at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday with live coverage provided by TNT beginning with a pre-race show at noon.