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Kevin Harvick Wins Kansas Cup Series Pole

KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway
Saturday, May 12, 2018

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Kevin Harvick wins his second Busch Pole Award of the season
Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

Kevin Harvick has been the dominant force in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing this season. 

In knockout qualifying on Friday at Kansas Speedway, the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford showed no sign of relinquishing his grip on NASCAR's foremost series. 

Harvick navigated the 1.5-mile speedway in 28.600 seconds (188.811 mph) in the final round of time trials to win the top starting spot for Saturday night's KC Masterpiece 400. 

The Busch Pole Award was a record fourth for Harvick at Kansas, his second of the season and the 23rd of his career. 

"This has been a really good place for us through the years, and obviously, when you look at qualifying day, it's one of those places that fits what we do," said Harvick, who has a series-best four victories to his credit this season, including last Sunday's win at Dover.  

"It's been an entertaining day. We've had a lot of things to work through today (during practice and inspection), but it's one of those days when you look at the team and go, ‘Man, those guys are really good at what they do.' Nobody panics, and it really shows the experience and the patience that all those guys have." 

Harvick edged Ryan Blaney (187.826 mph) for the top spot on the grid by .015 seconds. Kyle Busch (187.552 mph) qualified third, followed by Aric Almirola (187.428 mph) and Brad Keselowski (186.748 mph). 

Blaney had the fastest lap of the day in the first round (189.043 mph) but said the handling of his No. 12 Team Penske Ford tightened up in the second and third rounds. 

Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Joey Logano and Chris Buescher completed the top 10. Buescher was the only Chevrolet driver to advance to the final round, as Fords took seven of the top 12 spots and Toyotas accounted for four.  

Buescher claimed his best starting spot since qualifying ninth last year at Sonoma Raceway. 

"I'm proud of the effort," Buescher said. "Our Camaro ZL1 was good all three runs. We didn't lose a bunch of speed throughout the whole thing, and I'm proud of that. It's the second best start I've ever had in the Cup Series. That's pretty awesome as well." 

Kyle Larson spun his No. 42 Chevrolet during the second round and will have to start from the rear of the field on Saturday
Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

In the second round, Kyle Larson, one of the favorites for the pole, spun off Turn 4 and flat-spotted his tires. Larson failed to post a time in the round and earned the 22nd starting position, but the No. 42 will drop to the rear for the start of the race if the team opts to change tires. 

"I was pretty tight that run, and I just got tight getting into the top there and got up in the marbles and got loose," said Larson, who grazed the outside wall with his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. "I'm just thankful I didn't get too much damage on our First Data Chevy.  

"I haven't looked at it, but it appears really minor. Wish I wouldn't have done that because I feel like we had a shot at the pole." 

Seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet made it through pre-qualifying inspection just in time to make a first-round qualifying run. But Johnson will start 23rd after opting not to make a run in the second round. 

Jamie McMurray, the last driver to qualify in Round 1 after inspection issues, will start 24th after his car failed to fire for the second round.  

The No. 14 Ford of local favorite Clint Bowyer failed to advance through inspection in time to qualify, sending Bowyer to the rear for the start of the race. Likewise, Matt Kenseth will start from the back of the field in his return to competition with Roush Fenway Racing, with his No. 6 Ford also failing to pass inspection.

RACE LINEUP

Pos # Driver Sponsor/Make Lap Speed
1 4 Kevin Harvick Busch Light Ford 28.6 188.811
2 12 Ryan Blaney REV Group Ford 28.75 187.826
3 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Caramel Toyota 28.792 187.552
4 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Prime Ford 28.811 187.428
5 2 Brad Keselowski Alliance Truck Parts Ford 28.916 186.748
6 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Toyota 28.963 186.445
7 78 Martin Truex Jr. 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota 29.001 186.2
8 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation Ford 29.002 186.194
9 22 Joey Logano AAA Insurance Ford 29.048 185.899
10 37 Chris Buescher Breyers 2 in 1 Chevrolet 29.08 185.695
11 21 Paul Menard Menards/Atlas Ford 29.115 185.471
12 20 Erik Jones Reser's Toyota 29.169 185.128
13 24 William Byron
Liberty University Chevrolet 29.051 185.88
14 19 Daniel Suarez STANLEY Toyota 29.09 185.631
15 31 Ryan Newman Bass Pro Shops/Cabela's Chevrolet 29.094 185.605
16 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. SunnyD Ford 29.101 185.561
17 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 29.173 185.103
18 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet 29.281 184.42
19 88 Alex Bowman Axalta Chevrolet 29.311 184.231
20 38 David Ragan MDS Trucking Ford 29.321 184.168
21 43 Darrell Wallace Jr.
World Wide Technology Chevrolet 29.367 183.88
22 42 Kyle Larson Clover/First Data Chevrolet 28.618 188.692
23 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet 29.087 185.65
24 1 Jamie McMurray Cessna Chevrolet 29.131 185.37
25 3 Austin Dillon Symbicort Chevrolet 29.214 184.843
26 13 Ty Dillon Twisted Tea Chevrolet 29.558 182.692
27 72 Corey LaJoie Schluter-Systems Chevrolet 29.943 180.343
28 15 Ross Chastain LowT Center Chevrolet 30.031 179.814
29 23 Gray Gaulding BK Racing Toyota 30.035 179.79
30 55 Reed Sorenson Harrah's North Kansas City Chevrolet 30.181 178.921
31 0 Landon Cassill VNH Electric Chevrolet 30.216 178.713
32 51 BJ McLeod PREFUND CAPITAL Chevrolet 30.623 176.338
33 14 Clint Bowyer Haas 30 Years of the VF1 Ford 0 0
34 95 Kasey Kahne Tommy Williams Drywall Chevrolet 0 0
35 6 Matt Kenseth Wyndham Rewards Ford 0 0
36 34 Michael McDowell Love's Travel Stops Ford 0 0
37 32 Matt DiBenedetto Can-Am/Wholey Ford 0 0
38 66 Timmy Hill CrashClaimsR.us Toyota 0 0



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