It’s not often that Kevin Harvick wins a pole in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He won one of those rare poles on Friday with a lap time of 28.796 seconds at Kansas Speedway to claim the pole starting spot for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at the track. It’s Harvick’s first pole since 2006.
“It’s been forever — I think 2006,” Harvick said. “The most exciting thing is just the first pit stall.”
Speeds were significantly slower on Friday than they were the last time the Sprint Cup Series ran at Kansas Speedway in April, due, at least in part, by the multi-zone tread right-side tire the series will race on Sunday. The new-technology tire has been utilized one other time in the Sprint Cup Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway about a month ago.
“I think I like the tire we had last time a little better,” Ricky Stenhouse Jr. said. “It had a little more grip.”
Stenhouse turned in a lap time of 28.803 seconds during Friday’s qualifying session — good enough to garner a front-row starting spot next to Harvick. Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski qualified third and fourth to claim spots on the second row for the start of Sunday’s race. Joey Logano qualified fifth.
In all, three non-Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers qualified in the top-10. Joining Keselowski in the top-10 were Paul Menard in eighth and Denny Hamlin in 10th. Greg Biffle was the lowest qualifier among the 13 drivers in the Chase. He qualified 26th.
Other drivers qualifying in the top-10 include Dale Earnhardt Jr. in sixth, Matt Kenseth in seventh, and Carl Edwards in ninth.
Early in qualifying, the provisional pole spot changed hands several times, with Jeff Gordon, Martin Truex Jr., Earnhardt and Johnson spending brief time atop the scoring pylon before Stenhouse went out 10th and claimed the provisional pole. Unlike those before him, Stenhouse held the position for awhile before Harvick went out 28th and claimed the top spot for good.
Despite being a pole-winning run, Harvick acknowledged that his lap wasn’t the best.
“Just getting into turn three all day has been a little sketchy for us,” Harvick said. “Still didn’t get through there very good, but I guess it’s good enough for now.”
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR