David Ragan on pole for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis
|By Diego Mejia||Saturday, July 30th 2011, 21:25 GMT|
Roush Fenway Racing's David Ragan claimed pole position for the Brickyard 400 as the team continued its dominance of the Indianapolis weekend.
Ragan, who claimed his maiden Sprint Cup win earlier this month at Daytona, beat the early benchmark set by three-time Brickyard 400 winner Jimmie Johnson with a lap of 49.182 seconds at an average speed of 182.994 mph.
Red Bull Racing's Kasey Kahne would later get to within 0.018s of Ragan's lap, bumping Johnson from the front row of the grid and securing his best start at Indy.
"It was just a good, solid lap," said Ford driver Ragan after claiming his second Cup pole. "I always criticise myself and think I could have gotten more, but I don't really know. The car was fast. It did what I needed it to do.
"We were off a little bit in race practice but I think we made a lot of changes, we made some improvements. The key for tomorrow is staying up front. I don't think you can fall any further back than 10th or 15th.
"We've got to have a good day on pitroad, I've got to make good adjustments on the race car. It'll be hot, it'll be slick. We've got to stay in that top-10 all day."
Kahne, who survived a massive crash in a sprint car event last weekend, took his second front-row start of the season, giving his team reason for hope as it still seeks investors to stay afloat in 2012. He anticipates tyre wear will increase relative to the past and feels confident on his car's consistency on long runs.
"Top-two or three rows starting here is really good the way things are right now," said Kahne. "One thing that's going to be a little bit different is that the tyres are going to fall off a lot tomorrow, which will be good I think for the race.
"I think there will be a little bit more passing because of that. Some cars get slower than others as the race runs go. I think we'll be in a good spot. Our cars didn't fall off too bad today."
Johnson's Hendrick Chevrolet will share the second row of the grid with Penske Dodge driver Kurt Busch, making it four different manufacturers in the top four spots, while the second Penske car of Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five.
Richard Petty's AJ Allmendinger was sixth ahead of pre-race favourite Juan Pablo Montoya, who had a solid qualifying effort alongside his new Earnhardt Ganassi Racing crew chief Jim Pohlman.
Johnson's Hendrick team-mate Jeff Gordon was eighth while the Roush Fenway Fords of Matt Kenseth and points leader Carl Edwards completed the top 10.
Greg Biffle, fastest final practice, ended up only 18th. Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne was the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers in 25th driving Roush Fenway machinery for the Wood Brothers, while Sprint Cup returnee Scott Speed was 24th for Max Q Motorsports.
David Stremme, Travis Kvapil, Erik Darnell, JJ Yeley and Scott Wimmer failed to make the field.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. David Ragan Roush Fenway Ford 49.182s 2. Kasey Kahne Red Bull Toyota 49.200s + 0.018s 3. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 49.234s + 0.052s 4. Kurt Busch Penske Dodge 49.269s + 0.087s 5. Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge 49.300s + 0.118s 6. AJ Allmendinger Petty Ford 49.330s + 0.148s 7. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 49.351s + 0.169s 8. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 49.385s + 0.203s 9. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford 49.392s + 0.210s 10. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 49.437s + 0.255s 11. Casey Mears Germain Toyota 49.444s + 0.262s 12. Mark Martin Hendrick Chevrolet 49.459s + 0.277s 13. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 49.479s + 0.297s 14. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota 49.480s + 0.298s 15. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 49.486s + 0.304s 16. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 49.492s + 0.310s 17. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 49.528s + 0.346s 18. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 49.537s + 0.355s 19. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 49.550s + 0.368s 20. Joey Logano Gibbs Toyota 49.608s + 0.426s 21. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 49.617s + 0.435s 22. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 49.632s + 0.450s 23. Ryan Newman Stewart Haas Chevrolet 49.636s + 0.454s 24. Tony Stewart Stewart Haas Chevrolet 49.655s + 0.473s 25. Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Ford 49.687s + 0.505s 26. Clint Bowyer Childress Chevrolet 49.729s + 0.547s 27. Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet 49.744s + 0.562s 28. David Reutimann Waltrip Toyota 49.748s + 0.566s 29. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota 49.764s + 0.582s 30. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 49.829s + 0.647s 31. Brian Vickers Red Bull Toyota 49.831s + 0.649s 32. Landon Cassill Phoenix Chevrolet 49.963s + 0.781s 33. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 50.021s + 0.839s 34. Scott Speed Max Q Ford 50.126s + 0.944s 35. Michael McDowell HP Toyota 50.153s + 0.971s 36. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 50.196s + 1.014s 37. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 50.202s + 1.020s 38. Mike Skinner Germain Toyota 50.282s + 1.100s 39. Andy Lally TRG Ford 50.300s + 1.118s 40. TJ Bell LTD Powersports Chevrolet 50.564s + 1.382s 41. Robby Gordon Gordon Dodge 50.600s + 1.418s 42. Mike Bliss FAS Lane Ford 50.601s + 1.419s 43. Terry Labonte FAS Lane Ford 51.577s + 2.395s Did not qualify: David Stremme Inception Chevrolet 50.579s + 1.397s Travis Kvapil Front Row Ford 50.729s + 1.547s Erik Darnell Whitney Ford 50.734s + 1.552s JJ Yeley Front Row Ford 51.009s + 1.827s Scott Wimmer Gordon Dodge 51.415s + 2.233s