Two Chase Drivers and Two Bulls Start in Top-Five for Sylvania 300

Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR

Just when it looked like Brian Vickers would start on the pole for Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the rain came and changed everything.

Qualifying was delayed with only five cars remaining: Juan Pablo Montoya, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman.

Looking as though Sunday’s race would be an all Red Bull Racing front row, on his first qualifying run, Newman posted the fastest lap at a time of 28.213 seconds and a speed of 135.002 mph.

Prior to the restart, Kahne reminded everyone of June 2008 qualifying for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 when Patrick Carpentier surprised everyone earning his first-career pole following a lengthy rain delay.

When things finally got underway, the first few cars to head out on the track seemed to struggle. Montoya was disappointed to say the least, qualifying 31st.

Gordon who qualified seventh has the most all-time top-10s, top-fives and most laps led.

It was Vickers’s own teammate, Kahne who was initially able to knock him off the pole. Kahne struggled on his first lap, but was able to turn it around on his second posting a time of 28.263 seconds.

Many were questioning whether NASCAR made the right call in both delaying and then restarting qualifying.

“I think the track would have been better if we ran with a little bit of sprinkles where it’s not affecting the race track just some of those guys don’t want to go when it’s like that,” said Kahne. “I wasn’t in position to go and Kenny (Francis) wouldn’t let me go once the other three said no. I had no chance, but if I was the first car there I’d have rolled off for sure.”

This season has been a tough one for the Red Bull Racing Team. Kahne, driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota has two poles, three top-fives, eight top-10s and a best finish of third. Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota has only one top-five and five top-10s. With a best finish of fifth, this would have been his first pole of the season.

Newman who won July’s NHMS event, broke the track record last July with a speed of 135.232 mph. He also has the best average start as well as most all-time poles.

Starting in the top-five for Sunday’s Sylvania 300 are Newman, Kahne, Vickers, Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch.

Had the rain delay continued, the starting lineup would have then been based on practice speeds with Newman coming out on top, while Busch would have been the big loser, starting in 32nd.

Sunday’s Sylvania 300 will air live on ESPN at 2pm ET.
Two Chase Drivers and Two Bulls Start in Top-Five for Sylvania 300 Two Chase Drivers and Two Bulls Start in Top-Five for Sylvania 300 Reviewed by Unknown on Saturday, September 24, 2011 Rating: 5