NASCAR at New Hampshire 2015 Qualifying Results: Order, Final Times, Reaction – Bleacher Report
The Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is the second race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup’s opening round. The 16 drivers in the mix for the championship needed good qualifying outings Friday to set up an opportunity to advance—with the first cuts coming next week at Dover.
Carl Edwards had the best qualifying performance Friday, taking the pole at New Hampshire. Edwards has now swept the poles in 2015 at this track, winning the other back in July. It’s the 16th career pole for the driver, who sits in third in the Chase standings.
NASCAR tweeted his result:
— #TheChase (@NASCAR) September 25, 2015
Here’s a look at the qualifying results for Sunday’s event. For the full results with the fastest speeds and times, visit NASCAR.com:
|11||Dale Earnhardt Jr.*|
|14||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|
|21||Martin Truex Jr.*|
|29||Sam Hornish Jr.|
*Denotes Chase driver
The day’s pole winner drove well for most of the afternoon, recording the fastest time in practice. But Edwards had to scramble to make the final round of qualifying. While Edwards sat in 15th with a minute remaining, his final lap propelled him into the top 12, earning him a spot in the last round.
Kurt Busch and Kyle Larson traded the top spots in the first two rounds. Busch was the fastest in the first round, with Larson behind him, while the roles reversed in the second.
However, they didn’t finish at the top when it mattered the most in qualifying. Busch will be starting in third, while Larson dropped to sixth.
The first round saw some of the sport’s best drivers struggle to make the initial cut into the last 24 drivers. Kyle Busch squeaked into the second round after finishing in 24th, while Clint Bowyer was the only Chase driver who didn’t advance.
It hasn’t been a good two weeks for Bowyer, who is now sitting in 16th in the Chase after penalties dropped him in the standings.
Five more Chase drivers were eliminated in the second round: Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard, Martin Truex Jr. and Jamie McMurray. McMurray won the pole at New Hampshire last year but wasn’t so successful in 2015.
Other than Bowyer, no one needed a nice day of qualifying more than Kevin Harvick as he tries to make his way back up from 15th place. He’s attempting to overcome a 42nd-place finish at Chicagoland last week, when he was wrecked by Jimmie Johnson.
With a bit of drama after the race at Chicagoland when the two almost came to blows, Harvick isn’t keen on discussing what happened, according to Dan Gelston of the Associated Press:
Asked about Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick says “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.”
— Dan Gelston (@APgelston) September 25, 2015
He let his driving do the talking during qualifying, as he’ll start in second Sunday after finishing three-thousandths of a second behind Edwards.
With a narrow track and pit that will get congested on race day, the top finishers of qualifying will rest easy, knowing that they have less to maneuver through come Sunday. And with two races remaining until the Chase field goes down to 12, there is going to be plenty of drama and desperate racing.
Stats courtesy of NASCAR.com.