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Chase Elliott beats Kevin Harvick for pole at Phoenix

NASCAR Cup Series
Saturday, March 7, 2020


Chase Elliott
Chase Elliott
Betty Garcia/

Kevin Harvick showed the way, and Chase Elliott proved the model student in Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series time trials at Phoenix Raceway.

After Harvick tested the traction compound at the top of the 1-mile track and made it work -- running a qualifying lap in 26.110 seconds (137.878 mph) -- Elliott followed with a pole-winning effort of 26.065 seconds (138.116 mph).

“Kevin kind of made the top work, and I think after everyone saw that, they moved up,” said Elliott, who earned his first Busch Pole Award of the season, his first at Phoenix and the ninth of his career. “It’s great to get a pole. We’ve got different colors this week with (sponsor) UniFirst on our Camaro. I’m excited to grab them a pole.

“It’s always exciting when you can put down a fast lap. Hopefully, (Sunday) goes good -- that’s always the challenge. We’ll see, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Elliott and Harvick will line up on the front row for Sunday’s FanShield 500 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Denny Hamlin (137.841 mph) and Kyle Larson (137.604 mph) will start third and fourth, respectively, in the conclusion to the three-race West Coast swing.

Qualifying near the front at Phoenix is nothing new to Elliott, who will start within the top 10 for the eighth straight race at the 1-mile mile track and on the front row for the third time in the last four events here.

Finishing races at Phoenix has proven another matter entirely for the driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Contrast Elliott’s average starting position of 5.5 to his average finish of 13.8.

Phoenix, on the other hand, has perhaps done more to cement Harvick’s reputation as “The Closer” than any other track. Harvick will start Sunday’s race trying to extend a streak of 13 straight top 10s in the Sonoran Desert, a string that includes six victories. All told, Harvick has won nine times at Phoenix.

Chase Elliott
Chase Elliott

“It was close,” said Harvick, who did not make a mock run in either of Friday’s practice sessions. “I probably didn’t have quite enough confidence on the first lap that I should have had in it. The guys did a great job.

“Not doing a qualifying lap in practice, we just worked on our race stuff, and we were kind of winging it right there as to what we thought was right, and it worked out OK.”

Series leader Ryan Blaney will start fifth, followed by Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman, last week’s winner at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Matt DiBenedetto qualified ninth, and Kyle Busch, the defending winner of the race, will line up 10th.

Notes: Elliott qualified for next year’s Busch Clash, which will be run on Daytona International Speedway’s road course for the first time. … Martin Truex Jr. posted the 12th-fastest lap but will start from the rear of the field for the second straight week because of an engine change. At Auto Club, Truex was also sent to the back of the field after his car failed inspection three times.


19Chase ElliottUniFirst Chevrolet26.065138.116
24Kevin HarvickJimmy John's Freaky Fast Ford26.11137.878
311Denny HamlinFedEx Freight Toyota26.117137.841
442Kyle LarsonMcDonald's Chevrolet26.162137.604
512Ryan BlaneyMenards/Tarkett Ford26.19137.457
610Aric AlmirolaSmithfield Ford26.19137.457
71Kurt BuschGEARWRENCH Chevrolet26.197137.42
888Alex BowmanAxalta Chevrolet26.216137.321
921Matt DiBenedettoMotorcraft/Quick Lane Ford26.222137.289
1018Kyle BuschSport Clips Toyota26.23137.247
1120Erik JonesInterstate Batteries Toyota26.257137.106
1219Martin Truex Jr.Bass Pro Shops Toyota26.278136.997
1322Joey LoganoShell Pennzoil Ford26.287136.95
142Brad KeselowskiAlliance Parts Ford26.289136.939
1595Christopher Bell #Procore Toyota26.295136.908
1641Cole Custer #Haas Automation Ford26.339136.679
1724William ByronHertz Chevrolet26.364136.55
1814Clint BowyerMobil 1/Haas CNC Ford26.388136.426
1947Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Kroger Chevrolet26.448136.116
2037Ryan PreeceVelveeta Chevrolet26.449136.111
2148Jimmie JohnsonAlly Chevrolet26.481135.947
2234Michael McDowellLove's Travel Stops Ford26.502135.839
2317Chris BuescherSunnyD Ford26.512135.788
246Ross Chastain(i)Oscar Mayer Ford26.527135.711
2513Ty DillonGEICO Chevrolet26.528135.706
2638John Hunter Nemechek #MDS Transport Ford26.541135.639
2743Bubba WallaceWorld Wide Technology Chevrolet26.635135.161
2832Corey LaJoieMotor Trend Ford26.668134.993
298Tyler Reddick #I Am Second Chevrolet26.693134.867
303Austin DillonBass Pro Shops/Tracker Off Road Chev26.772134.469
3196Daniel SuarezCommScope Toyota26.873133.963
3215Brennan Poole #Goettl Chevrolet26.909133.784
3352JJ Yeley(i)Jacob Construction Ford27.169132.504
340Quin Houff #Mount-N-Lock/Ashurst Honey Chev27.211132.299
3577Reed SorensonSpire Motorsports Chevrolet27.395131.411
3651Garrett SmithleyJacob Construction Chevrolet27.464131.081
3753Joey Gase(i)Chevrolet27.533130.752
3866Timmy Hill(i)PIT BOSS GRILLS Toyota27.584130.51


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