By: Allan Brewer, NASCAR Correspondent
- 2nd career pole for Ragan
- Kahne, Edwards start 2nd, 3rd
- Hot weather prevails at the track
Ragan surprises with Brickyard pole
Roush-Fenway Racing's David Ragan caught a break in the weather on a hot sun-baked afternoon to crank out a flat-out fast lap of 182.994 mph at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, taking the pole for the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Kasey Kahne of Red Bull Racing and Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports will start second and third.
It is Regan's second pole starting spot of the year and his career second pole (previous Texas, 2011). A slight cloud cover over the race track gave Ragan an opportune moment to leapfrog onto the top spot of timing and scoring after other competitors were dealt a run in the blistering Hoosier sunshine.
"It's great. I wish Ned (Jarrett) could be here," said Ragan of his run over the scorched 2.5 mile asphalt oval at Indy. "We need to get the win for him. A lot changes between now and race day, but we're looking forward to it."
Ragan's Ford Fusion race car is dedicated and painted a special scheme this weekend in honor of NASCAR racing legend Ned Jarrett, who serves as Grand Marshall of this year's competition.
Kasey Kahne, in the waning days of his tenure with Red Bull, drove the Toyota to the second-best spot on the starting grid with a mark of 182.927 mph. He was followed on the scoring pylon by Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Chevrolet.
Jimmy Johnson appeared to, but did not, touch the unyielding white concrete wall surrounding the diamond-ground racing surface on his way to what looked like a sure pole-winning performance at 182.800 mph under cooler conditions in the earlier part of the afternoon.
Kurt Busch of local favorites Penske Racing qualified fourth-fast on a speed of 182.671 mph, followed by Brad Keselowski at 182.556 mph and A J Allmendinger on 182.445 mph.
Juan Pablo Montoya of Chip Ganassi Racing ran to seventh quickest at 182. 367. Hendrick Motorsports' Jeff Gordon (182.242 mph), Matt Kenseth (182.216 mph) and Carl Edwards (182.050 mph) rounded out the top ten.
Temperatures hovered in the low to mid-nineties throughout the day in Speedway, Indiana on Saturday. The forecast for Sunday calls for much of the same, with a 10-20 percent chance of rain.
It's great. I wish Ned (Jarrett) could be here.
Fans took the heat in stride clad in sleeveless tee-shirts, shorts and flip-flops trailing wheelie coolers behind them into the gigantic complex that starts at 16th and Georgetown and ends northeast behind the hazy third turn near 30th and Michigan.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced that Hope Solo, goalkeeper of the US women's national soccer team, would drive the pace car at Sunday's race, which commences at 1 PM EDT.
The Brickyard 400 will be broadcast live on the ESPN cable and satellite television network.