Kevin Harvick claimed the pole starting for Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday with a 47.753-second/188.470 mph lap in the third of three rounds of qualifying. It’s his fourth pole of the 2014 season.
Harvick posted the fastest lap times in all three rounds of qualifying, and in the first round, he set a new track qualifying record of 47.647 seconds/188.889 mph. In the second round, his lap was clocked at 47.801 seconds/188.281 mph.
“After the first lap, I was probably more nervous than I have been in awhile for qualifying,” Harvick said. “I wasn’t really expecting to have the car run that fast. From there, they are all looking at you, ‘Alright, if you screw this up, it’s on you buddy.’ It’s great to have fast cars. They do a great job preparing the cars, and just being able to come to the race track and know the cars are going to be fast takes a huge burden off of everybody’s shoulders just to get the balance right.”
Jeff Gordon will start next to Harvick on the front row after posting the second-fastest lap in the final round of qualifying. Brad Keselowski qualified third. Gordon and Keselowski were also second and third to Harvick in rounds one and two.
“First, it starts with the preparation of an awesome race car,” Gordon said. “That is what we have this weekend. We didn’t have anything for Kevin today, but what an incredible Axalta Chevy SS that we have this weekend.”
Keselowski will share the second row with last year’s race winner and Indiana native, Ryan Newman. Brian Vickers will make his 300th-career Sprint Cup Series start from the fifth spot.
“Obviously, we would have loved to sit on the pole, but I think I’m pleased from the standpoint that I feel like everyone on this Aaron’s Dream Machine Camry team, we maximized our opportunity in qualifying today, and that’s always a good feeling,” Vickers said. “I feel like we got the most out of our potential of what we showed up with in the car and the speed and everything.”
Other drivers advancing to the third round and claiming starting spots inside the top-12 include Tony Stewart in sxith, Kurt Busch seventh, Juan Pablo Montoya eighth, Joey Logano ninth, Kasey kahne 10th, Jimmie Johnson 11th and Kyle Busch in 12th.
Forty-six drivers made qualifying attempts in the first round, so three drivers failed to make the race — Brett Moffitt, David Stremme and Matt Crafton.