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Daniel Suarez Wins First Career Cup Series Pole

Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch Disqualified
Saturday, July 28, 2018

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Daniel Suarez
Andrew Hampton/Pocono Raceway

Thanks to a double disqualification of two of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series' so-called "Big Three," Daniel Suarez earned the first Busch Pole Award of his career.

In the final round of Friday's knockout qualifying at Pocono Raceway, Suarez navigated the 2.5-mile track in 50,851 seconds (176.988 mph) to claim the top starting position when the cars of Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch failed post-qualifying inspection.

Both Harvick and Busch had posted faster laps than Suarez, but Harvick's No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford failed the Optical Scanning Station, and Busch's No. 18 Toyota was outside tolerances at the chassis station.

That put Suarez on the pole, surpassing his previous best starting spot of third last June at Dover International Speedway. The driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota put his car on the pole without making a mock qualifying run in practice.

"I think this is one of the races of the year where we did not make a qualifying run in practice," said Suarez, the first Mexican driver to win a pole in NASCAR's premier series. "We just talked about race trim, and that was the plan.

"We didn't do a "Q" run in practice, and that's why we didn't look very good on the (speed) chart. But we were a top-10, top-eight car for sure in practice. We made some adjustments for qualifying, and actually the car felt better and more connected, so I'm happy for that."

Suarez was at his motor home, analyzing data and studying where he had lost time to Harvick and Busch when he was told to report to the media center as the pole winner.

"Next time I hope I can get the pole by being the fastest guy, not by a couple of guys being disqualified," Suarez said. "But it's fine—we'll take it."

Harvick ran the fastest lap of the day at 177.750 mph, but both his run and that of Busch were disallowed because of inspection failures. Both drivers will start from the rear of the field in Sunday's race.

Since finishing third at Dover in May, Suarez has gone nine straight races without a victory, but he sensed the performance at Pocono was a turning point.

"The guys have been working very hard for the last couple months to put things the right way," Suarez said. "Obviously, we know we can run well, and we can run in the front.

"All my guys are really talented, and I know that I can do it, and the results haven't been there. So this is a good thing for us."

Lineup

PosCarDriverTeamTimeSpeed
119Daniel SuarezStanley Toyota50.851176.988
211Denny HamlinFedEx Express Toyota51.012176.429
320Erik JonesReser's Toyota51.023176.391
42Brad KeselowskiAlliance Truck Parts Ford51.050176.298
51Jamie McMurrayArctic Cat Chevrolet51.103176.115
69Chase ElliottNAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet51.112176.084
741Kurt BuschHaas Automation Ford51.322175.363
878Martin Truex Jr.Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota51.356175.247
931Ryan NewmanBass Pro Shops/Cabela's Chevrolet51.498174.764
1088Alex BowmanAXALTA All-Pro Teachers Chevrolet51.540174.622
116Matt KensethRoush Performance Ford51.654174.236
1237Chris BuescherScott Products Chevrolet51.990173.110
1334Michael McDowellDockside Logistics Ford52.023173.000
1447AJ AllmendingerKroger ClickList Chevrolet52.118172.685
1513Ty DillonGEICO Chevrolet52.174172.500
1638David RaganA&W All American Food Ford52.241172.278
1717Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Ford Ford52.319172.022
1832Matt DiBenedettoDude Wipes Ford52.517171.373
1996Jeffrey EarnhardtXtreme Concepts Inc. Toyota53.313168.814
2023JJ Yeley(i)Steakhouse Elite Toyota53.323168.783
2172Corey LaJoieMonarch Chevrolet53.346168.710
2215Gray GauldingChevrolet53.557168.045
2399Kyle WeathermanStarCom Fiber Chevrolet53.767167.389
2400Landon CassillLock Haven University Chevrolet53.976166.741
257Reed SorensonChevrolet54.276165.819
2651BJ McLeod(i)Jacob Companies Chevrolet54.286165.789
2766Timmy Hill(i)Lehigh Valley Phantoms Toyota54.652164.678
2818Kyle BuschM&M's Caramel Toyota0.0000.000
294Kevin HarvickMobil 1 Ford0.0000.000
3022Joey LoganoShell Pennzoil Ford0.0000.000
3114Clint BowyerHaas 30 Years of the VF1 Ford0.0000.000
3242Kyle LarsonDC Solar/Credit One Bank Chevrolet0.0000.000
3312Ryan BlaneyPPG Ford0.0000.000
3410Aric AlmirolaSmithfield Ford0.0000.000
3548Jimmie JohnsonLowe's for Pros Chevrolet0.0000.000
3621Paul MenardMenards/Libman Ford0.0000.000
373Austin DillonAmerican Ethanol e15 Chevrolet0.0000.000
3824William Byron #AXALTA/IMRON Chevrolet0.0000.000
3943Bubba Wallace #Mile 22 Chevrolet0.0000.000
4095Kasey KahneProcore Chevrolet0.0000.000

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