Harvick To Start Kansas Race From The Pole
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Kevin Harvick, who is trying to turn what some consider a three-driver Sprint Cup playoff into a four-driver playoff, won the pole on Friday for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.
Harvick, who will start Sunday’s race fourth in points – 39 behind leader Matt Kenseth and 27 behind third-place Kyle Busch – won the pole with a lap at 187. 526 mph.
The pole was the Richard Childress Racing driver’s first of the season. In fact, it was his first since 2006 when he was P1 at New Hampshire in the track’s fall race.
“It’s been forever, I think 2006,” Harvick said of the pole. “Just proud of my Budweiser Chevrolet guys for obviously putting a fast car underneath me and being able to put it all together for our qualifying lap. I think the most exciting thing is just the first pit stall. We know this race is going to have a lot of pit strategy and being able to have that down there is definitely going to be worth qualifying first.”
Asked if his pole victory was a statement to those saying the 2013 Chase is a three-driver affair, Harvick said, “To be honest with you, walked into media day this year and there was two people standing in line to conduct interviews so from day one of this year everybody has kind of written us off. We’re three races into the Chase and it kind of is what it is so we’ve done our thing and put our self in position to just go out and race and enjoy it.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who will be making his 30th Cup start in Sunday’s race, was second fastest in qualifying. Stenhouse turned a fast lap at 187.480 mph in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford.
“It was just not quite good enough,” Stenhouse, a non Chaser, said. “We were close but our average start here at Kansas is going to be pretty solid now. I thought going out that early that if I could be around some of those guys that went early like the 48 and 24 and 20 and 88, we had some really good cars going early and to jump in front of them I thought we might have a chance at hanging on to the pole. Kevin just barely got us there. It was definitely a good start for us. I think track position is going to be important. We were fast here last time and led laps and go caught by caution on pit road. Hopefully we can keep that fast car continuing on into tomorrow and Sunday.”
Third fastest was Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports, who is second in points – eight behind Kenseth.
Fourth fastest was 2012 Cup champions Brad Keselowski of Penske Racing. Fifth was Joey Logano, Keselowski’s teammate.
Chase leader Kenseth was seventh fastest while Busch was 18th.
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