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Kevin Harvick Wins Atlanta Cup Series Pole

by Pete McCole
Friday, March 3, 2017

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Kevin Harvick won his 18th-career Cup Series pole on Friday
NASCAR Via Getty Images

Kevin Harvick scored his second-career Atlanta Motor Speedway pole in Friday's qualifying session for Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.

Harvick turned a lap of 190.398 mph to knock former teammate Ryan Newman off the top spot and collect his 18th-career Cup Series pole, and his first ever driving for the Ford stable.

Newman held on for the second spot, followed by Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Brad Keselowski.

Harvick's no. 4 Ford Fusion was one of more than 20 cars still waiting in the inspection line as qualifying was set to begin, as teams were experiencing issues adapting their cars to fit the new low downforce templates.

Harvick's team managed to clear inspection in time to get him out the grid for the opening round, but five cars failed to clear inspection and missed qualifying.

"We have had two different styles of body on this chassis so I think that says a lot about our team," said Harvick. "Rodney (Childers, crew chief) and everybody on this No. 4 Jimmy John's Busch Ford do a good job. We didn't spend very much time at all on qualifying today. We really concentrated on trying to get our race stuff right. I think as we had a couple hours to work on it there we were able to dial the setup in and made it better in every round.

"To be at the race track and already have a win for the 41 and a pole for us and everybody running good says a lot about the effort that has gone into this transition."

Newman, who had posted the fastest time in Friday's lone practice session, led the second round of qualifying before moving onto the final round, where he was bumped by Harvick.

Newman's second-place showing was his second-straight top-five start at Atlanta and his third in the last four races. He is the active leader in poles at this track, tied with the late Buddy Baker.

"We were so close (to the pole)," said Newman. "I really wanted to beat my old buddy, Buddy Baker's record there. Been tied with him for a while so that was kind of rough. But I'm just proud of the guys and proud of the effort. It is the litmus test for us for a lot of the rest of the season. It was a good start for sure."

Kyle Busch will line up third for Sunday's race with his first top-five qualifying effort in his last four starts. He has two Atlanta Cup Series wins, the last coming in 2013.

"(It's) not what we wanted, but close enough," said Busch of his qualifying effort. "Just kept getting tighter as the rounds kept going, so just didn't have enough adjustment in the car for that, but guys did a great job giving me a fast car."

Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson, Truex, Jr., and Denny Hamlin made up the rest of the top 10.

The cars of Michael McDowell, Cole Whitt, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Cody Ware and Derrike Cope were unable to make it through tech before the start of the opening round of qualifying and were not able to make an attempt. Only 39 cars are entered for Sunday's race so all five drivers will make the field, but will be lined up by owners points.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

Pos.#DriverMakeSponsorLapTimeBehind
14Kevin HarvickFordJimmy John's190.39829.118LEADER
231Ryan NewmanChevyCaterpillar189.8729.199-0.081
318Kyle BuschToyotaM&M's189.8529.202-0.084
417Ricky Stenhouse JrFordFastenal188.85429.356-0.238
52Brad KeselowskiFordAutoTrader188.78329.367-0.249
622Joey LoganoFordShell Pennzoil188.73829.374-0.256
71Jamie McMurrayChevyMcDonald's188.59129.397-0.279
842Kyle LarsonChevyTarget187.72229.533-0.415
978Martin Truex JrToyotaBass Pro Shops187.71629.534-0.416
1011Denny HamlinToyotaFedEx Ground187.65229.544-0.426
1124Chase ElliottChevyNAPA Auto Parts187.58929.554-0.436
1288Dale Earnhardt JrChevyNationwide187.08929.633-0.515
1341Kurt BuschFordMonster Energy186.98829.649-0.531
1421Ryan BlaneyFordMotorcraft / Quick Lane186.62329.707-0.589
156Trevor BayneFordAdvoCare186.60429.71-0.592
1620Matt KensethToyotaDeWalt186.42829.738-0.62
1727Paul MenardChevyRichmond/Menards186.39729.743-0.625
1848Jimmie JohnsonChevyLowe's186.30929.757-0.639
193Austin DillonChevyDow Quikrete186.16529.78-0.662
2047AJ AllmendingerChevyTBD185.08429.954-0.836
2119Daniel SuarezToyotaARRIS185.02829.963-0.845
2232Matt DiBenedettoFordCan - Am185.02229.964-0.846
2377Erik JonesToyotaSiriusXM184.10730.113-0.995
2410Danica PatrickFordAspen Dental182.70530.344-1.226
2514Clint BowyerFordHaas186.52229.723-0.605
2613Ty DillonChevyGEICO186.12129.787-0.669
2734Landon CassillFordCSX – Play it Safe185.329.919-0.801
2837Chris BuescherChevyKroger Click List185.24529.928-0.81
295Kasey KahneChevyFarmers Insurance185.0929.953-0.835
3043Aric AlmirolaFordSmithfield Foods184.59130.034-0.916
3123Gray GauldingToyotaDr. Pepper182.36230.401-1.283
3283Corey LajoieToyotaDustless Blasting181.18830.598-1.48
3315Reed SorensonToyotaTBD180.60430.697-1.579
3438David RaganFordTBD13.126422.357-393.239
3533Jeffrey EarnhardtChevyLittle Joes Autos0.00.029.118
3695Michael McDowellChevyKLove 0.00.029.118
3772Cole WhittFordRinnai0.00.029.118
3855Derrike CopeChevyWade Tractor & Equipment0.00.029.118
3951Cody WareChevySpoonful of Music Foundation0.00.029.118


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