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Tony Stewart leads SHR drivers in New Hampshire NASCAR qualifying

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Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) had the fourth-fastest time Friday in qualifying laps for Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. Stewart turned a lap of 27.786 seconds at 137.076 mph on the 1.058-mile oval in the final qualifying round.

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“I’m actually pretty happy with that,” said Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup winner at New Hampshire. “Our Mobil 1 Chevy is good in race trim and now we’ve got a good starting spot and good pit selection.”

Stewart’s skill at the Loudon track is evident in his success. The first of his three Sprint Cup wins there came in July 2000, where Stewart led 156 of the 273 laps in the rain-shortened race and his second Sprint Cup win came in July 2005. Of the 600 laps available in those two races, Stewart led 405 laps (67.5 percent).

In addition to the wins, Stewart has a pole (September 2005), 14 top-fives and 17 top-10s in 29 career Sprint Cup starts at New Hampshire. He also has a 2008 Nationwide Series win there.

Stewart is looking for his first win on the 2014 season, almost a necessity for a driver to make the field of 16 that will run for a championship. He has won the Sprint Cup championship three times with his latest title coming in 2011. That championship was the first for a driver/owner since 1992 when Alan Kulwicki accomplished the feat.

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 12th with a time of 28.024 seconds at 135.912 mph. Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 18th with a time of 27.968 seconds at 136.184 mph and Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, qualified 29th with a time of 28.189 seconds at 135.117 mph.

Forty-three drivers attempted to qualify for Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 301. All drivers made the race.