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Rain Scraps Qualifying In Kentucky; Harvick on Pole

| , RacinToday.com Friday, July 8 2016
Rain at Kentucky Speedway put Kevin Harvick on the pole for Saturday night's race. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Andrew Coppley)

Wet weather at Kentucky Speedway helped put Kevin Harvick on the pole for Saturday night’s race. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Andrew Coppley)

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Friday’s scheduled qualifying session for Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway has been cancelled because of wet weather. The decision was made to cancel qualifying and instead give teams and drivers extended practice time at the newly repaved Kentucky track.

sprint-logo-08“I appreciate NASCAR’s decision to cancel qualifying to give us an opportunity to get more track time considering the situation that a lot of the teams are in,” Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhart Jr. said. “So, I think that was a great move, a real smart move. Plus, the track could use the rubber that we’ll be able to put down on it if we get the opportunity to practice later on today, more so than what Qualifying would do to the track.”

The starting grid has been set according to the new provisions establish by NASCAR and unveiled two weeks ago prior to the race at Daytona International Speedway. The new provisions dictate that current year owner points would replace practice speeds for determining race eligibility and starting position in the event adverse conditions prevent qualifying from taking place.

As a result of this change, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick will lead the field to green for the Kentucky race. Next to him on the front row will be Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski.

Kurt Busch of Stewart-Haas will start third and Penske’s Joey Logano fourth.

Scrapping qualifying allowed teams more practice time on a track which has been repaved and
reconfigured.

“Well, I think this weekend is a little bit of an unknown,” Harvick said. “We spent two days here testing and obviously we had to make some adjustments – Goodyear had to make some adjustments to the tires coming back to make them live.  I think as we have gone through practice we haven’t had any tire issues so far.  But it changed a lot with the feel of the car and the things that you want in the car.  We’ve scrambled a little bit.  I felt like we were better the second time out on the race track.  I think hopefully being able to get some more practice will be beneficial because we still  don’t really have a good idea of exactly where we need to be as far as balance and what is going to happen the longer you run the car.”

Keselowski was asked about his and his team’s approached to the new Kentucky variables.

“I would say the approach is to take all of the Kentucky notes and run them through the shredder and start from scratch because what’s worked here in the past isn’t even close to what’s gonna work here this weekend,” Keselowski said.” That’s been pretty obvious before we got on the track and then confirmation once we did get on the track.  I think with this (aero) package being similar to Michigan and the repave kind of maybe more closely aligning this track to Michigan, a lot of what we’re doing is going off of those notes and what has worked for us there.  So far, that’s been helpful for us.  We had a lot of success with both Penske cars at Michigan.”

(This story will be updated shortly)

| , RacinToday.com Friday, July 8 2016
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