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Kevin Harvick Wins Second Darlington Pole

by Pete McCole
Saturday, September 2, 2017

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Kevin Harvick won his second-straight Darlington pole
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Kevin Harvick scored his second Darlington pole in Saturday's qualifying for Sunday's Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Driving throwback paint scheme on his no. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet honoring five-time Southern 500 winner Cale Yarborough, Harvick swept all three rounds of qualifying to secure his fourth pole of the season and 21st of his career.

Martin Truex, Jr. took second, followed by Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray.

Harvick lapped the field with a speed of 177.730 mph to knock his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch from the top spot, then sweated it out as Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and then Truex tried and failed to unseat Harvick from the top spot.

It was the third-career front-row start in the Southern 500 for Harvick, who finished runner-up to Truex Jr. in last year's race.

"It feels pretty good.  We're on the pole," said Harvick. "It's been a good start to the weekend for us and the car is driving good and we we're able to put three laps together.  Everything is going well."

Harvick paced the opening round of qualifying, running 178.187 mph to lead Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, McMurray and Truex, Jr. to advance to the second round.

Round two was more of the same, with Harvick going right back on top after a single lap, clocking in with a 177.511 mph run to lead Erik Jones, McMurray, Larson and Kyle Busch.

The opening rounds set the stage for Harvick's final run for the pole as the sixth driver to take to the track, going straight to the top of the scoring pylon for the final time the second straight year and taking the coveted first pit stall for Sunday night's race.

Harvick's throwback car honors Cale Yarborough's 1979 Daytona 500-winner paint scheme

"Track position is never a disadvantage….the biggest advantage here is the first pit stall because the timing line is so close to the pit exit there with the first stall.  So that's really the biggest advantage," said Harvick. "I think if your car is handling good, you can make your way through traffic, but having that first pit stall if you car is not handling good, it allows you to make up two or three spots if you have a decent pit stop and hopefully keep that track position all night.  That's really the biggest advantage."

Defending race winner Martin Truex, Jr. collected his career-best Darlington start, looking to rebound from last week's disappointing 21st-place finish at Bristol that snapped his three-race top-five-finish streak.

"That was definitely a good, successful qualifying session for us," said Truex, Jr. "It – we thought we were off a little bit the first round then just kept working on the car and kind of adjusted the driving style a little throughout all three rounds and we ended up second. So seems like we've been second a lot this year and it's been a good number for us and hopefully it'll be a good one tomorrow night."

Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Jones rounded out the top ten qualifiers.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

Pos.#DriverMakeSponsorLapBehindSpeed
14Kevin HarvickFordBusch Beer27.669LEADER177.730
278Martin Truex Jr.ToyotaBass Pro Shops27.771-0.102177.077
318Kyle BuschToyotaM&M's Caramel27.833-0.164176.682
442Kyle LarsonChevyCredit One Bank27.851-0.182176.568
51Jamie McMurrayChevyMcDonald's27.874-0.205176.422
62Brad KeselowskiFordMiller Genuine Draft27.924-0.255176.107
741Kurt BuschFordMonster Energy27.935-0.266176.037
822Joey LoganoFordShell Pennzoil27.940-0.271176.006
911Denny HamlinToyotaSport Clips27.954-0.285175.918
1077Erik JonesToyota5-hour ENERGY28.036-0.367175.403
1120Matt KensethToyotaCircle K28.041-0.372175.372
1221Ryan BlaneyFordMotorcraft28.097-0.428175.022
133Austin DillonChevyAmerican Ethanol27.968-0.299175.830
1417Ricky Stenhouse Jr.FordFifth Third Bank28.038-0.369175.391
1543Aric AlmirolaFordSTP28.048-0.379175.328
1614Clint BowyerFordCarolina Ford Dealers28.054-0.385175.291
1731Ryan NewmanChevyCaterpillar28.091-0.422175.060
1848Jimmie JohnsonChevyLowe's 28.097-0.428175.022
1919Daniel SuarezToyotaARRIS28.109-0.440174.948
2024Chase ElliottChevyNAPA Auto Parts 28.115-0.446174.910
2127Paul MenardChevyDutch Boy / Menards28.155-0.486174.662
2288Dale Earnhardt Jr.ChevyNationwide 28.162-0.493174.618
235Kasey KahneChevyGreat Clips28.261-0.592174.007
246Trevor BayneFordAdvoCare28.309-0.640173.712
2513Ty DillonChevyGEICO28.132-0.463174.804
2638David RaganFordCamping World28.146-0.477174.718
2737Chris BuescherChevyCheerios28.172-0.503174.556
2832Matt DiBenedettoFordKeen Parts\Corvetteparts.net28.184-0.515174.482
2947AJ AllmendingerChevyKroger Click List28.301-0.632173.761
3095Michael McDowellChevyWRL General Contractors28.310-0.641173.705
3134Landon CassillFordLove’s Travel Stops28.429-0.760172.978
3215Reed SorensonToyotaXchange of America28.620-0.951171.824
3310Danica PatrickFordFord Credit28.631-0.962171.758
3472Cole WhittChevyTriStar Motorsports28.681-1.012171.458
3523Corey LajoieToyotaDr. Pepper28.684-1.015171.441
3683Gray GauldingToyotaChampion Machinery28.765-1.096170.958
3733Jeffrey EarnhardtChevyHulu 28.876-1.207170.301
3855Derrike CopeToyotaMane 'n Tail29.372-1.703167.425
3951Cody WareChevyBubba Burger / Pray for Texas29.566-1.897166.326
4066Carl LongChevyCrashClaimsR.US29.697-2.028165.592



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