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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]
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, leads the field after a restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, places his name in the top twelve on The Chase Grid after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, puts the winner`s sticker on his car in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cars race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Eckrich Ford, races Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, leads the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates with his son, Keelan, in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Splash-FVP/Menards Toyota, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Johnny Sauter, driver of the #98 Nextant/Curb Records Toyota, leads the field through the green flag to start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, crosses the finishline to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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