2nd ‘knockout’ qualifying session goes off without having a hitch
By: Al Pearce on March 28, 2014
LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC – Kyle Busch won the NASCAR Sprint Cup pole award on Friday at Martinsville.
Contrary to weeks of dire speculation, Friday afternoon qualifying for the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway went off seamlessly. It was the year’s second quick-track “knockout” qualifying session for Sprint Cup and it was largely uneventful, a lot like the current session at the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway.
All 44 teams ran laps in the opening thirty-minute session. Only the prime 12 from that session sophisticated to the 10-minute session that set the initial 6 rows of Sunday’s grid. Starters 13-43 for the 500-lap race will start in the purchase they completed the opening thirty-minute session.
Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin put their Toyotas on the front row. Joey Logano in a Penske Ford and Jimmie Johnson in a Hendrick Chevrolet certified on the second row, followed by the Hendrick Chevy of Jeff Gordon and the JGR Toyota of Matt Kenseth on the third row. The rest of the best 12 starters: Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray and Danica Patrick, and Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer.
Logano “won” the thirty-minute session over Hamlin, Busch, McMurray, Kenseth, Gordon, Johnson, Edwards, Bowyer, Biffle, Patrick and Stewart. Right after a 5-minute break they went out -– in fits and commences, in no way all together at any time — to full the qualifying approach among themselves. Ironically, Logano set a track qualifying record in the initial session (100.201 mph), but will still begin third.
“This is the sixth qualifying segment I’ve won, but still don’t have a pole,” he said. “That’s aggravating. How do you set a qualifying record and not start off on the pole?” (Simply because the pole is determined only in the final session and data can be set in both session.)
“But third is Okay.,” Logano stated. “It will get me a good pit assortment and will get me up front for the begin. But a record and no pole… that’s aggravating.”
Perhaps remarkably, there were no incidents. When the new qualifying format was announced in January, drivers predicted troubles at Martinsville, the tour’s slowest and most congested track. “It would have been a true mess if we hadn’t had the cooling units [which get rid of vehicles from running slow cool down laps while others are at pace],” Logano said. “Today, everyone was concerned with getting on and off the track, and getting in a clean lap. It wasn’t so poor at all.”
McMurray, Kenseth, Johnson, Bowyer, Biffle and Patrick ran 4 laps for the duration of the very first qualifying session. The other 6 who advanced to the ultimate session ran only 3 laps. (There were brief moments when no cars had been on the track.) Busch, Hamlin, Johnson, Gordon, Kenseth and McMurray ran 3 laps in the ultimate session. Bowyer ran 4 laps, Stewart, Biffle, Logano and Edwards ran 5 laps and Patrick ran 6.
The pole was Busch’s 14th all-time but his initial at the flat, half-mile track. “This feels excellent simply because it is not usually the M&M car is on the pole right here -– particularly with me in it,” Busch said. “It was a quick automobile when we unloaded and we dialed it in for race trim. We did a single mock qualifying run that was very good, then manufactured some excellent modifications among the sessions, after the tires had diminished. So… hooray for me and hooray for the crew.”
1. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 99.674 mph.
2. (eleven) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 99.548.
3. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 99.428.
4. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 99.178.
5. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 99.048.
6. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 99.048.
7. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 98.883.
8. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 98.846.
9. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 98.625.
8. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 98.165.
11. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 97.764.
12. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 97.382.
13. (fifty 5) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 98.965.
14. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 98.929.
15. (47) A J Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 98.888.
sixteen. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 98.877.
17. (9) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 98.712.
18. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 98.707.
19. (23) Alex Bowman, Toyota, 98.661.
20. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 98.625.
21. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 98.61.
22. (41) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 98.61.
23. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 98.599.
24. (34) David Ragan, Ford, 98.599.
25. (51) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 98.43.
26. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 98.379.
27. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 98.359.
28. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 98.333.
29. (32) Travis Kvapil, Ford, 98.246.
30. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 98.206.
31. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 98.2.
32. (95) Michael McDowell, Ford, 98.002.
33. (98) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 97.957.
34. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 97.886.
35. (26) Cole Whitt, Toyota, 97.82.
36. (forty) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 97.759.
37. (33) David Stremme, Chevrolet, proprietor points.
38. (83) Ryan Truex, Toyota, owner points.
39. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, owner factors.
40. (6) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, owner points.
41. (thirty) Parker Kligerman, Toyota, proprietor factors.
42. (36) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, owner points.
43. (66) Joe Nemechek, Toyota, proprietor points.
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