Kevin Harvick beats teammate Kurt Busch to Talladega pole

Kevin Harvick may have three wins already this season but he added his first pole on Saturday.

Kevin Harvick beats teammate Kurt Busch to Talladega pole
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Busch Beer Flannel
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Busch Beer Flannel
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Busch Beer Flannel and Rodney Childers
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Busch Beer Flannel
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Monster Energy / Haas Automation
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Monster Energy / Haas Automation
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Monster Energy / Haas Automation

Harvick, the final car to make an attempt in Round 2, posted an average lap speed of 194.448 mph to win the pole for Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. He just edged his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Kurt Busch (194.082 mph), who went out right before Harvick.

Martin Truex Jr. ended up third, Denny Hamlin fourth and Chase Elliott completed the top-five.

The pole is the first this season for Harvick, second at Talladega and 22nd of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.

“I’m really proud of our team and the first thing I want to say is a big thank you to Roush Yates Engines, and the guys that work on this car,” Harvick said. “They put so much effort into things like this.

“We’ve really never qualified this well. They’ve made some big improvements obviously over the offseason and then there was the restrictor-plate change overnight. With everything that’s happened, it’s just a huge credit to this team.

“Starting up front will definitely be good.”

Completing the Top 12 are Erik Jones, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman and David Ragan.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 2 49.247     194.448
2 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 2 49.340 0.093 0.093 194.082
3 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 2 49.482 0.235 0.142 193.525
4 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 2 49.633 0.386 0.151 192.936
5 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 2 49.680 0.433 0.047 192.754
6 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 2 49.686 0.439 0.006 192.730
7 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 2 49.900 0.653 0.214 191.904
8 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 2 49.947 0.700 0.047 191.723
9 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 2 49.968 0.721 0.021 191.643
10 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 2 50.046 0.799 0.078 191.344
11 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 2 50.071 0.824 0.025 191.248
12 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 2 50.113 0.866 0.042 191.088

Round 1

Harvick easily bested his competition to lead the way in the first round of qualifying but it was quite the process to get there.

Harvick was the only driver to surpass the 194 mph barrier, with an average speed of 194.275 mph. However, had to abandon his original qualifying attempt when his teammate, Aric Almirola, lost a tire and spun during his attempt.

Harvick’s crew chief, Rodney Childers, believed the driver ran over debris associated with Almirola’s incident and the No. 4 team received permission from NASCAR to return to pit road and changes tires.

“It was a unique position that we were put in,” Harvick said. “Just really proud of everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing. This car is fast.”

Kurt Busch, the 23rd driver out, ended up as the only one to cross the 193 mph barrier in the session (193. 921 mph) and ended up second-fastest. Truex was third-fastest (192.707 mph). Jones was fourth and Elliott completed the top-five.

“I think we we’re trying pretty hard and we may go a little quicker in the second round. If we do go faster, I think everyone will,” Elliott said. “I didn’t get to do as much drafting yesterday as I wanted to do. We come to these places and nobody wants to draft.”

Also advancing to the final round were Hamlin, Logano, Keselowski, Stenhouse, Bowyer, Bowman and Ragan.

Among those who failed to advance to the final round was Kyle Busch, who is attempting to win his fourth consecutive race for the first time in his career. Busch will line up 19th.

Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Daniel Suarez and Ty Dillon will all start Sunday’s race from the rear of the field, regardless of where they qualified.

All four were involved in an accident in practice on Friday, which was triggered when McMurray had a left-rear tire go down and turned in front of Newman, and McMurray’s car lifted up and over Newman’s.

McMurray’s No. 1 Chevrolet ended up barrel-rolling several times before coming to rest on all four tires.

“I’m a little bit sore kind of everywhere,” McMurray said. “The back of my eyes probably hurt the most when I woke up.”

Almirola had a right-side tire go down during his qualifying attempt and ended up spinning in Turn 1. He realized he had an issue developing as he could not get his No. 10 Ford up to speed on his hot lap.

“Something in the rear end broke,” Almirola said over his team radio after the incident.

13 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 2 50.009 0.718 0.018 191.486
14 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 2 50.011 0.720 0.002 191.478
15 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 2 50.054 0.763 0.043 191.313
16 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 2 50.068 0.777 0.014 191.260
17 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 2 50.087 0.796 0.019 191.187
18 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 2 50.107 0.816 0.020 191.111
19 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 2 50.109 0.818 0.002 191.103
20 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 2 50.138 0.847 0.029 190.993
21 6 united_states Trevor Bayne  Ford 2 50.140 0.849 0.002 190.985
22 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 2 50.151 0.860 0.011 190.943
23 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 2 50.269 0.978 0.118 190.495
24 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 2 50.363 1.072 0.094 190.140
25 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 2 50.454 1.163 0.091 189.797
26 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 2 50.462 1.171 0.008 189.767
27 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 2 50.474 1.183 0.012 189.721
28 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 2 50.476 1.185 0.002 189.714
29 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 2 50.762 1.471 0.286 188.645
30 62 united_states Brendan Gaughan  Chevrolet 2 50.766 1.475 0.004 188.630
31 96 canada D.J. Kennington  Toyota 2 51.145 1.854 0.379 187.232
32 92 united_states Timothy Peters  Ford 2 51.190 1.899 0.045 187.068
33 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 2 51.319 2.028 0.129 186.598
34 00 united_states Joey Gase  Chevrolet 2 51.484 2.193 0.165 186.000
35 15 united_states Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 2 51.564 2.273 0.080 185.711
36 72 united_states Cole Whitt  Chevrolet 2 51.710 2.419 0.146 185.187
37 23 united_states Gray Gaulding  Toyota 2 52.102 2.811 0.392 183.793
38 55 united_states Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 2 52.372 3.081 0.270 182.846
39 51 united_states Timmy Hill  Ford 2 52.647 3.356 0.275 181.891
40 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 2 54.604 5.313 1.957 175.372

 

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