Michigan 400 Qualifying
Date: June 12, 2015
Event: Michigan 400 Qualifying (Round 15 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (2-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Kasey Kahne of Hendrick Motorsports (35.645 seconds at 201.992 mph)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, led the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent Friday at Michigan International Speedway by setting the second-fastest lap in qualifying for Sunday’s Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Harvick turned a lap of 35.712 seconds at 201.613 mph on the 2-mile oval in the final qualifying round.
“I don’t know that I got everything out of it, but all the rounds were within seven-hundredths of each other,” said Harvick, who won at Michigan in August 2010. “The guys were doing a great job and Kasey (Kahne, pole winner) just got a little bit better lap there than we did.”
Qualifying consisted of three rounds. The first was 20 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 in the second round. The remaining 43-car field was set by speeds posted by those who did not advance past the first round.
Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualified 15th with a time of 36.061 seconds at 199.662 mph.
“I just had a hard time through (turns) three and four today with our Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy,” said Stewart, who won at Michigan in June 2000. “We have a little bit of work to do and fortunately we have both practice sessions tomorrow to work on it.”
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 19th with a time of 36.279 seconds at 198.462 mph.
“The GoDaddy Chevy was really edgy on our first run in qualifying,” said Patrick, who will make her fifth Sprint Cup start at Michigan on Sunday. “It still felt like it was out of the track on the second run, but it was definitely better and had a lot more grip than we’d had all day. When we went out in the second round, it actually felt pretty good. I was able to drive (the car) in deeper than I had all day. Overall, I’m really glad we made gains from practice to qualifying and were able to make the car faster.”
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualified 24th with a time of 36.440 seconds at 197.585 mph. Busch was forced to the backup car after an accident during practice.
“Our guys worked very hard to get the backup ready for qualifying and unfortunately it just didn’t handle well enough to get us up to speed and advance to the final round,” said Busch, a two-time Sprint Cup winner at Michigan (June 2003 and August 2007). “We’ve still got two practice sessions tomorrow to fine tune the Haas Automation Chevrolet, so we’ll give it all we’ve got tomorrow to get ready for Sunday.”
Kasey Kahne led the final round of knockout qualifying by taking the pole with a lap of 35.645 seconds at 201.992 mph. It was his 27th career Sprint Cup pole, his first of the season and his third at Michigan.
Harvick will start on the outside of row one. It’s his fifth front row start of the season.
The 10 other drivers who made it to the final round of qualifying were Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Ryan Blaney, Jeff Gordon, Austin Dillon, Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth. All are listed in the order they’ll start Sunday’s race.
Forty-four drivers attempted to qualify for the Michigan 400. Brendan Gaughan was the lone driver who did not make the 43-car field.
The Michigan 400 gets underway at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday with live coverage provided by FOX Sports 1.