Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
On Friday night the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualified for the Duck Commander 500 from Texas Motor Speedway. When qualifying was all said and done it was Stewart-Haas Racing on the front row. Kurt Busch won the pole with an impressive lap in the final round of qualifying while Kevin Harvick ran the second-fastest lap and will start the race in second place Saturday night.
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Here are some quick thoughts and takeaways from Friday’s qualifying session:
- Props to RFR – For the first time all season Roush Fenway Racing managed to advance all three of their drivers out of the first round of qualifying. Saturday night Greg Biffle will start 19th, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will start 22nd and Trevor Bayne will start 23rd.
- SHR minus Danica looks good – All of the Stewart-Haas cars made it to the final round in qualifying except for Danica Patrick. Patrick will start 21st Saturday night but that’s okay considering she had to abort a qualifying run earlier in the session. Tony Stewart will start 11th as he looks for his first top-10 finish of the season and we all know where Busch and Harvick are starting.
- Woes for Toyota – Not a single Toyota made it to the final round of qualifying that that simply isn’t good enough. Carl Edwards (16th), Matt Kenseth (17th) and Denny Hamlin (18th) did all they could in the second round but it wasn’t enough. Those three JGR Toyota’s were the only one’s to make it out of the first round of qualifying.
- Tampering isn’t holding Newman back – There was some question as to whether or not the tire tampering issue would hold Newman back this weekend. So far, so good for Newman and the No. 31 team. Newman qualified 7th while his teammate Paule Menard qualified 8th.
- Gordon struggled – Jeff Gordon was the slowest HMS car in practice before he was the fastest in the first round of qualifying. After that Gordon was much slower in round two and he was almost a second off the of pace of Kurt Busch in round three. After calling the Xfinity race tonight Gordon needs to hope that there is plenty of speed in the No. 24 car for Saturday night. Gordon is top-10 finishes in each of his last three starts.
- Shout-out to Blaney – Ryan Blaney who is running a part-time schedule in the No. 21 machine will start 13th Saturday night. That’s some good speed for that team in that car.
- Starting from the rear – Dale Earnhardt Jr. (25th), Clint Bowyer (27th) and David Ragan (31st) will each have some work to do come time for the race. All three drivers showed some decent speed in practice and many figured that they would have qualified better than they did. There are drivers who qualified worse but none of these three thought they would be starting outside of the top-24.
Be sure to join BTF tomorrow night as we will be providing live updates, coverage and analysis of the Duck Commander 500 from Texas Motor Speedway.