2:48 PM PDT, July 30, 2011
David Ragan continued to be hot in the
month of July by winning Saturday's qualifying session for the Brickyard 400
at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Jimmie Johnson held the provisional pole for most of the session until Ragan, who was 44th in the 48-driver field to make his qualifying run, posted a lap at 182.994 mph around the famed 2.5-mile oval for his second career Sprint Cup Series pole. His first one came in April at Texas Motor Speedway.
"We knew we would have a shot at the pole," Ragan said. "I just tried not to overdrive. So many guys got into [turn] one a little too hot or maybe picked up the throttle a little too hard, so I tried to be a little conservative. It paid off."
Ragan started the month by winning his first race in the series at Daytona International Speedway. His previous best starting position at Indianapolis was 16th, which came in 2008.
Kasey Kahne, who was the second-to-last driver to make his qualifying attempt, turned a lap at 182.927 mph to claim the outside pole.
"We were close there," Kahne said. "I didn't get down to the white line in turn four enough and probably gave up a little bit of speed coming to the green [flag]."
Johnson's lap at 182.801 mph earned him the third starting position.
Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski qualified fourth and fifth, respectively.
"I felt like we had a shot at the pole, but to come up a bit shy, it stings," Busch said. "We were a little loose in practice. I left it loose for the qualifying run, thinking I could wrestle through it. I slid just a little bit in each corner."
Team owner Roger Penske has 15 Indianapolis 500 victories but has yet to win a Sprint Cup race at this track.
A.J. Allmendinger qualified sixth, followed by Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, who recorded the fastest lap overall in practice, and
Carl Edwards, the current points leader.
Edwards holds just a seven-point advantage over Johnson.
Other drivers and their starting positions include: Kevin Harvick (19th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (22nd), Ryan Newman (23rd), Tony Stewart (24th) and Kyle Busch (29th). Newman won the most recent Sprint Cup race two weeks ago at New Hampshire.
Jamie McMurray, the defending Brickyard 400 winner, will start 16th.
Denny Hamlin qualified 14th but will have to start from the rear of the field after blowing an engine during Friday's practice.
David Stremme, Travis Kvapil, Erik Darnell, J.J. Yeley and Scott Wimmer failed to qualify.
Sunday's 400-mile race at Indianapolis is scheduled to start just after 1:00 p.m. (et).
Copyright © 2014, Sports Network