NASCAR: Ragan on the pole at Brickyard

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 30, 2011

By Jenna Fryer
Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS ó David Ragan, in the midst of a career breakthrough, added the pole for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to his suddenly improved resume.
Ragan earned his first career Sprint Cup Series victory earlier this month at Daytona, a track long considered to be the crown jewel track of NASCAR. Indianapolis ranks among the most prestigious tracks in the world, and Raganís pole-winning run Saturday was no small feat.
He made his run late in the session, with three-time Brickyard winner Jimmie Johnson holding down the top spot on the leaderboard. Ragan turned a lap of 182.994 mph in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford to bump Johnson from the pole.
ěIt will be cool to lead the pack,î Ragan said. ěItís an honor to be here and to be the fastest guy at Indy. This is a great track. Any type of accomplishment you get here is cool.î
Itís Raganís second career pole. His first came in April at Texas.
ěIt was a good lap, I didnít make a mistake,î Ragan said. ěIt wasnít as aggressive as I wanted to be.î
Kasey Kahne made his qualifying run after Ragan and jumped in front of Johnson with a lap at 182.927 mph in a Toyota from Red Bull Racing.
Johnson, the five-time defending series champion, fell to third. His lap of 182.801 mph in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet had led the qualifying session until the late runs by Ragan and Kahne.
Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski qualified fourth and fifth in their Dodges for Sundayís race.
AJ Allmendinger, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and series points leader Carl Edwards rounded out the top 10.
David Stremme, Travis Kvapil, Erik Darnell, JJ Yeley and Scott Wimmer were the five drivers who failed to qualify.
Denny Hamlin qualified 14th, but heíll have to drop to the back of the field at the start of the race as a penalty for changing his engine.