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Ragan starts Brickyard 400 from pole

David Ragan continued the momentum that's made July a career-best month for him by taking pole position at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Sunday's Brickyard 400.
David Ragan picked up his second pole of the month - and of his entire 166-race Cup career - to go alongside his maiden win at Daytona earlier in July in his strongest four weeks in NASCAR competition.

Raagan becomes only the fourth driver in 2011 to claim more than one pole position, the others being Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards and Juan Montoya. His time of 49.182 seconds on the legendary 2.5 mile oval speedway put him in pole position, but he described it modestly as "just a good, solid lap."

Asked what he would do at the green flag on Sunday afternoon, Ragan quipped: "I'm not going to change lanes before the start/finish line," referring to the mistake that cost him likely win in February's Daytona 500. "That's the first thing I'm not going to do."

Ragan will start the Brickyard 400 on Sunday afternoon alongside Kasey Kahne who posted a time of 49.200s. Kahne has started in the top-five in five of his eight Brickyard 400s, but this is the first time he's been on the front row. "Top-two or three rows starting here is really good the way things are right now," said Kahne, who said he expected tyres to degrade quickly during the race, and that "there will be a little bit more passing because of that."

Jimmie Johnson (49.234s) - who had held provisional pole for much of the session, and who has won three of the past five Brickyard 400s - and Kurt Busch (49.269s) form the second row of the grid after a stiffly-fought qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.

Starting from seventh place, Juan Montoya (49.351s) - who won here in the Indianapolis 500 in IndyCar eleven years ago and who has also competed here in F1 - will be hoping that his experience finally results in a breakthrough oval win in NASCAR, after having come close in previous Brickyard 400 events.

Carl Edwards - who has been surrounded by speculation and controversy about his contract for 2011 this year as rumours grow that he's about to split with Roush Fenway - managed tenth place with a 49.437s. Kevin Harvick starts from 19th, Kyle Busch from 29th, while Trevor Bayne - the man who won the Daytona 500 after Ragan's infamous lane-switch mistake - qualifies in 25th position for the start of the Brickyard 400.

With the famous venue drawing a larger than usual field, there were 48 cars seeking to make the 43-car grid for Sunday's race. David Stremme, Travis Kvapil, Erik Darnell, JJ Yeley and Scott Wimmer were the unlucky drivers who missed out and who will be going home early. However, former Cup regular (and F1 driver) Scott Speed did make the field and will start from 34th place in his debut for Max Q Motorsports.

Despite qualifying in 14th place, Denny Hamlin will start from the back of the field, after blowing an engine during Friday's second practice. The matter will be a concern for the Joe Gibbs Racing team, which has struggled for reliability with their Toyota engines from the start of the 2011 season compared with Ford and Chevrolet teams.

Full qualifying times and grid positions available.



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Jimmie Johnson drives the #48 Lowe`s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 30 in Indianapolis, Ind. [Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Carl Edwards drives the #99 Ortho Ford through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 30 in Indianapolis, Ind. [Photo Credit: ohn Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR]
The #6 UPS Ford driven by David Ragan. [Picture credit: NASCAR]
David Ragan, driver of the #6 UPS/Ned Jarrett NASCAR Hall of Fame Ford, poses with Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett with Ragan`s Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying with a fast lap of 182.994 mph in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 30 in Indianapolis, Ind. [Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, races Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, races to victory Sunday, May 3, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. With him are Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS who finished second, and Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet SS who finished in third place. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS Sunday, May 3, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. This was Earnhardt, Jr.`s sixth victory at Talladega. Johnson finished second behind Earnhardt, Jr. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS, qualifies for second position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Kahne is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate and Pole winner Jeff Gordon, driver of the #5 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, wins the Pole position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Gordon is tenth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, wins the Pole position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Gordon is tenth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates with champagne and crew chief Tony Gibson in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, wins, causing his crew to celebrate Sunday, April 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, races to victory Sunday, April 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory with a burn-out Sunday, April 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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