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Harvick Leads Speed Assault On Michigan During Qualifying

| , RacinToday.com Friday, June 13 2014

Kevin Harvick smashed the MIS qualifying record on Friday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Rusty Jarrett)

Kevin Harvick won his third Sprint Cup pole of the year on Friday when he posted the fastest qualifying lap for Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

His pole winning lap came at 204.557 mph, a MIS record.

“Obviously it was a really fast lap, a really fast couple of laps,” the Stewart-Haas Racing driver said. “But the car has been really good since we unloaded it off the truck and these guys put fast cars on the track every week and then we’ve been in contention for poles and wins every week. Today it just all came together from the time we unloaded. I’m just really proud of my guys and everybody at the Henrick engine shop and on these big race tracks when you have fast cars, speed makes the driver’s job a lot easier. So, it’s been a good weekend so far.”

Harvick’s laps also marked the fastest pole speed in NASCAR since Bill Elliott earned the pole at Talladega in April 1987 with a 212.809 mph run.

He was asked if MIS has become too fast.

“Well, Michigan has been fast for a long time,” Harvick said. “I think how fast is too fast, you know what I mean? It’s the perfect storm with pavement with the cars in qualifying trim. The cars will slow down a tremendous amount when we get them in race trim and in a pack. It’s going to be quite a bit hotter on Sunday. They’ll slow down. Qualifying speeds are high. It’s just a matter of whose opinion is taken on whether it’s too fast or not.”

It’s the ninth pole of his career. He also started and finished first at Darlington this season and was second at Kansas after securing the pole there.

Harvick said the new knockout system of qualifying is the reason for his surge in pole wins this year.

“This format has obviously been good for me to I guess creep-up on it as you go through the sessions,” he said. “And a fast car allows you to do that. A fast car really solves a lot of problems and Rodney (Childers, crew chief) and the guys have done a great job with that and we just keep at it.”

Hendrick Motorsports claimed the next two spots in the lineup as Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave Chevrolets the three fastest times in qualifying.

When told about the speeds the cars were running in qualifying, Earnhardt said, “Wow. That says a lot about the cars. How comfortable the cars are. I didn’t really feel like we were going that much faster than what we have ran here in the past. We’ve added a good amount of downforce in the cars since last year. We’ve anticipated that we would be faster everywhere we went this year, and we have as a sport. This place is no different. This is just an excellent race track. Really lends itself to a good motor – good power plant.”

Gordon said, “It’s daunting if something goes wrong I can tell you that. This weekend is going to be a real challenge for reliability. We are going so fast. From engines to just components on the car, tires, it’s concerning. I’m glad it’s 400 miles, but even 400 miles you are going to have to manage it. The cars are comfortable enough and stuck so well that is why you are not really noticing the speeds as a driver. As a driver, I don’t know how much faster we’ve gone this year than last year, but I feel like it’s quite a bit. My car was way more comfortable and those speeds were easier to handle this year than they were last year.”

Ryan Truex was the lone entrant who failed to qualify.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying – Quicken Loans 400

Michigan International Speedway

Brooklyn, Michigan

Friday, June 13, 2014

1. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 204.557 mph.

2. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 203.776 mph.

3. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 203.729 mph.

4. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 203.200 mph.

5. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 203.040 mph.

6. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 202.908 mph.

7. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 202.401 mph.

8. (41) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 202.043 mph.

9. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 202.032 mph.

10. (55) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 201.331 mph.

11. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 200.490 mph.

12. (42) Kyle Larson #, Chevrolet, 201.117 mph.

13. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 200.876 mph.

14. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 200.842 mph.

15. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 200.831 mph.

16. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 200.820 mph.

17. (51) Justin Allgaier #, Chevrolet, 200.730 mph.

18. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 200.518 mph.

19. (3) Austin Dillon #, Chevrolet, 200.457 mph.

20. (9) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 200.128 mph.

21. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 199.967 mph.

22. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 199.534 mph.

23. (21) Trevor Bayne(i), Ford, 199.518 mph.

24. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 199.165 mph.

25. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 200.837 mph.

26. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 200.457 mph.

27. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 200.451 mph.

28. (12) Juan Pablo Montoya, Ford, 200.217 mph.

29. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 199.933 mph.

30. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 199.750 mph.

31. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 199.617 mph.

32. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, 198.593 mph.

33. (34) David Ragan, Ford, 198.571 mph.

34. (66) Brett Moffitt, Toyota, 198.347 mph.

35. (44) JJ Yeley(i), Chevrolet, 197.900 mph.

36. (33) David Stremme, Chevrolet, 197.666 mph.

37. (7) Michael Annett #, Chevrolet, Owner Points

38. (98) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, Owner Points

39. (40) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, Owner Points

40. (36) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, Owner Points

41. (23) Alex Bowman #, Toyota, Owner Points

42. (26) Cole Whitt #, Toyota, Owner Points

43. (32) Travis Kvapil, Ford, Owner Points

1 drivers failed to qualify.

44. (83) Ryan Truex, Toyota, 196.931 mph.

| , RacinToday.com Friday, June 13 2014
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