Daniel Suarez tops SHR teammate Almirola for Kentucky pole

Daniel Suarez went from last to first to win the pole for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.

Daniel Suarez tops SHR teammate Almirola for Kentucky pole

Suarez, the final of 36 cars to make a qualifying attempt on Friday, rocketed to the top of the leaderboard as Fords claimed four of the top-five starting positions.

Suarez’s average lap speed of 184.590 mph was almost a mile-an-hour faster than his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Aric Almirola (183.799 mph). Brad Keselowski ended up third (183.443 mph).

Kurt Busch, driving Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 1 Chevrolet, was fourth-fastest and the only non-Ford driver in the top-five. Kevin Harvick wound up fifth.

The pole is just the second for Suarez in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and first of the 2019 season. His previous pole came last season at Pocono Raceway.

“The car has been very fast the entire day. We had the fastest car (on long runs) in last practice and now we have the fastest car in qualifying,” Suarez, a native of Monterrey, Mexico, said. “I’m just very proud of my guys – everyone who makes this possible.

“We’ve been working very hard and it’s showing up at the race track.”

Asked what it means to start up front on what can be a very difficult track, Suarez said: “I really want to win so bad. I haven’t been in Victory Lane for a while. 

“The last time I was in Victory Lane was in Brazil. I’ve been looking forward to bringing trophy home for a while. We have a really fast car and now it’s up to me to make it happen tomorrow night.”

Rounding out the top 10 in qualifying are Daniel Hemric, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Austin Dillon and Kyle Busch.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Time Gap Mph
1 41 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Ford 29.254   184.590
2 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 29.380 0.126 183.799
3 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 29.437 0.183 183.443
4 1 United States Kurt Busch  Chevrolet 29.451 0.197 183.355
5 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 29.458 0.204 183.312
6 8 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 29.526 0.272 182.890
7 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 29.535 0.281 182.834
8 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 29.575 0.321 182.587
9 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 29.580 0.326 182.556
10 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 29.601 0.347 182.426
11 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 29.620 0.366 182.309
12 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 29.625 0.371 182.278
13 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 29.646 0.392 182.149
14 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 29.667 0.413 182.020
15 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 29.671 0.417 181.996
16 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 29.686 0.432 181.904
17 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 29.752 0.498 181.500
18 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 29.763 0.509 181.433
19 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 29.776 0.522 181.354
20 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 29.779 0.525 181.336
21 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 29.821 0.567 181.080
22 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 29.874 0.620 180.759
23 6 United States Ryan Newman  Ford 29.887 0.633 180.681
24 95 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Toyota 29.914 0.660 180.517
25 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 29.948 0.694 180.313
26 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 29.954 0.700 180.276
27 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 29.985 0.731 180.090
28 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 30.008 0.754 179.952
29 32 United States Corey Lajoie  Ford 30.014 0.760 179.916
30 47 United States Ryan Preece  Chevrolet 30.023 0.769 179.862
31 36 United States Matt Tifft  Ford 30.172 0.918 178.974
32 51 United States Bayley Currey  Ford 30.387 1.133 177.708
33 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 30.421 1.167 177.509
34 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 30.533 1.279 176.858
35 52 United States B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 30.964 1.710 174.396
36 77 United States Quin Houff  Chevrolet 31.031 1.777 174.020
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