Johnson sets record in Martinsville qualifying

Leave a comment

Jimmie Johnson took the pole position at Martinsville Speedway, edging the prior fastest driver Marcos Ambrose by merely .007 of a second around the 0.526-mile paper clip oval.

Johnson’s fastest lap of 19.244 seconds (98.400 mph) is a new track record.

“In the first run out, we were in (qualifying) trim and made two or three laps, and I knew right away that we had a great shot at it today,” Johnson said. “At that point, I just needed to do my job and not mess up.”

The race is the sixth in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and first since the controversial ending at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. two weeks ago.

Brian Vickers – one of two replacements for the injured Denny Hamlin – lines up third in the No. 55 Aaron’s Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, before he shifts to Hamlin’s No. 11 FedEx Toyota next weekend in Texas. Incidentally, Hamlin’s sparring partner Joey Logano qualified fourth, ahead of Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski.

Mark Martin, deputizing for Hamlin this week, starts only 35th. That’s three spots behind Danica Patrick, in her Martinsville debut.

A diplomatic tweet from the Batesville, Ark. native: “We have 2 practices tomorrow. I look forward to getting to know the #11 FedEx car better. The guys were great to work with today.”

The lone driver that failed to qualify was Mike Bliss, a tough pill to swallow on his 48th birthday.

IndyCar entry lists for Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

IndyCar entry lists Indianapolis
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Leave a comment

There are 25 drivers on the NTT IndyCar Series entry lists at Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with a few new yet familiar faces for the Oct. 2-3 race weekend.

Four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais will make his season debut in the No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet (shifting Dalton Kellett to the No. 41) with AJ Foyt Racing, which he is joining full time next season. James Hinchcliffe, who had run three races with Andretti Autosport, will return in place of Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda. Helio Castroneves will drive Arrow McLaren SP’s No. 7 Dallara-Chevy for Oliver Askew, who is out with concussion-like symptoms.

Sage Karam, who has two IndyCar starts this year at IMS (the road course on July 4 and the Indy 500 on Aug. 23), also will return to the series in Dreyer & Reinbold’s No. 24 Dallara-Chevrolet.

HARVEST GP ENTRY LISTS: Friday l Saturday

Friday and Saturday of the Harvest GP presented by GMR will mark the second and third races this season on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. While the July 4 race on the circuit was 80 laps, Friday’s distance is 85 laps, and Saturday will be a 75-lap event.

Championship leader Scott Dixon led 26 of 80 laps to win the July 4 race at the IMS road course. With three races remaining in the series, the five-time series champion enters with a 72-point lead on Josef Newgarden.

Click here to see who’s on the IndyCar entry lists in Race 1 and in Race 2 for the Harvest GP presented by GMR at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.


START TIMES AND TV INFO FOR INDYCAR AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE (all times ET):

Thursday

IndyCar NTT Series practice: 2:25-3:40 p.m., NBC Sports Gold

IndyCar qualifying, Race 1: 6:20 p.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

Friday

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 1: 3:30 p.m. (green flag, 5 p.m.), USA Network, NBC Sports Gold

Saturday

—IndyCar qualifying: 10:20 a.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 2: 2:30 p.m (green flag, 2:31 p.m.)., NBC, NBC Sports Gold