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Kevin Harvick Wins First-Career Texas Cup Series Pole

Ford Sweeps Top Five Positions
Friday, April 7, 2017

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Kevin Harvick
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Kevin Harvick needed a do-over in the second round of Friday's knockout qualifying session at Texas Motor Speedway, but putting the extra lap on his tires proved well worth the effort.

Harvick led not only the second round but also the first and third in winning the pole for Sunday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (1:30 p.m. ET on FOX).

"I just didn't feel like I got through Turns 1 and 2 like I needed to," Harvick said of his first attempt in the second round. "The front took off, and I didn't want to do what everyone was doing in practice and get out of the groove and drive it into the wall.

"It's been a stressful day, coming in and breaking in a new (resurfaced) race track and going out there running as fast as we had to run for qualifying."

In the final round, Harvick secured his second Coors Light Pole Award of the season in the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, his second of the season and the 19th of his career with his fastest lap of the afternoon, covering the distance on the repaved and reconfigured speedway in 27.217 seconds (198.405 mph).

That was quick enough to edge Ryan Blaney (198.020 mph) for the top starting spot by .053 seconds. Blaney and Clint Bowyer ran identical times in the final round, with Blaney getting the nod for the second position on the basis of owner points.

"Man, I heard that they give you a shotgun when you win the pole here," Blaney said of the coveted qualifying trophy. "I saw my lap and thought that might do it, but Kevin just snuck by us.

"I think I have a really fast Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion. It was even good in race trim today. The track has come a long way in a few hours, and hopefully it will widen out even more for the XFINITY race (Saturday) and for our practices. Not a bad start to the weekend."

Ford drivers swept the top five starting spots, in part because several of the strongest Chevrolets were out of the equation, having failed to clear pre-qualifying inspection in time to make qualifying runs in the first round.

Among the Chevy drivers missing in action were Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series leader Kyle Larson and the Hendrick Motorsports trio of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chase Elliott and Kasey Kahne.

Hendrick driver Jimmie Johnson had a different issue. Starting and then aborting a second lap in the first round, Johnson lost control through Turns 1 and 2 and spun, flat-spotting his tires. Since drivers must start the race on their qualifying tires, Johnson sat out the second and third rounds and will start 24th on Sunday.

"I think we used up all our good luck at Homestead last year," who won his record-tying seventh title at the South Florida track. "I took the stripe, and we were in position to run two (laps) and see what was going to happen. (Crew chief) Chad (Knaus) called me off when he saw the time.

"When I heard that, I dumped the throttle real hard to try and check-up and roll through the center so I could go through the corner slowly; and when I dumped out of the throttle it pitched the car sideways and I started chasing it going into the turn. I thought I had it saved and then I got into all those marbles and kept getting closer to the wall and spun."

In addition to Larson and the Hendrick drivers, Kyle Busch and Erik Jones did not advance through inspection in time to qualify. Both suffered accidents in Friday's opening practice, with Jones going to a backup car and Busch's crew attempting to repair the primary.

"We were just behind the eight ball, having to fix that car, so obviously we got in line really late and in our haste, we didn't get our tech blocks set correctly, so we passed templates, passed the grid, passed undercar, passed everything except when we got to the scales, which is the very last thing," said Adam Stevens, Busch's crew chief.

"The wedge has to be within a certain number, and we were below that number. That's just for tech - it's not for on the race track - so the car was all set to go, and we didn't get a chance to set our tech blocks because we were in such a hurry, so just an error on our part."

Qualifying Results

Pos.#DriverMakeSponsorTimeBehindLap
14Kevin HarvickFordJimmy John's27.2170.000198.405
221Ryan BlaneyFordMotorcraft27.270-0.053198.020
314Clint BowyerFordHaas-Automation 27.270-0.053198.020
422Joey LoganoFordShell Pennzoil27.306-0.089197.759
52Brad KeselowskiFordMiller Lite27.333-0.116197.563
61Jamie McMurrayChevySherwin Williams27.482-0.265196.492
778Martin Truex JrToyotaBass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats27.492-0.275196.421
820Matt KensethToyotaLet's Go Places 27.509-0.292196.299
931Ryan NewmanChevyCaterpillar27.618-0.401195.525
1041Kurt BuschFordMonster Energy27.692-0.475195.002
1117Ricky Stenhouse JrFordFord EcoBoost27.761-0.544194.517
126Trevor BayneFordPerformance Plus Motor Oil28.113-0.896192.082
1395Michael McDowellChevyWRL General Contractors27.703-0.486194.925
1413Ty DillonChevyGEICO27.714-0.497194.847
1534Landon CassillFordLove's Travel Stops27.734-0.517194.707
1647AJ AllmendingerChevyKroger Click List27.781-0.564194.377
1711Denny HamlinToyotaFedEx Office27.823-0.606194.084
1843Aric AlmirolaFordSmithfield27.855-0.638193.861
1910Danica PatrickFordTaxAct27.876-0.659193.715
2019Daniel SuarezToyotaStanley27.937-0.720193.292
2138David RaganFordCamping World28.058-0.841192.458
2227Paul MenardChevyDutch Boy / Menards28.254-1.037191.123
2383Corey LaJoieToyotaDustless Blasting28.614-1.397188.719
2448Jimmie JohnsonChevyLowe's27.943-0.726193.251
253Austin DillonChevyDow Energy & Water28.339-1.122190.550
2632Matt DiBenedettoFordCan-Am / Kappa28.371-1.154190.335
277JJ YeleyChevyAccell Construction, Inc. 28.452-1.235189.793
2872Cole WhittFordRTIC Coolers28.542-1.325189.195
2923Gray GauldingToyotaDr. Pepper28.683-1.466188.265
3015Reed SorensonToyotaXchange of America28.695-1.478188.186
3133Jeffrey EarnhardtChevyLittle Joes Autos29.532-2.315182.852
3242Kyle LarsonChevyCredit One Bank0.00027.2170.000
3324Chase ElliottChevyNAPA Auto Parts0.00027.2170.000
3418Kyle BuschToyotaInterstate Batteries0.00027.2170.000
355Kasey KahneChevyFarmers Insurance0.00027.2170.000
3677Erik JonesToyota5-hour ENERGY 0.00027.2170.000
3788Dale Earnhardt JrChevyAxalta0.00027.2170.000
3837Chris BuescherChevyScott Products0.00027.2170.000
3951Timmy HillChevyFenton Motors0.00027.2170.000
4055Derrike CopeChevyLow T Centers0.00027.2170.000


 

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