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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]
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Brian Scott. (Picture Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
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