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NASCAR Cup: Daniel Suarez on pole at Kentucky

SPARTA, KENTUCKY – JULY 12: Daniel Suarez, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Ford, celebrates with the Busch Pole Award after qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart at Kentucky Speedway on July 12, 2019 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

EDITOR’S NOTES: Twenty cars into post-qualifying/pre-race inspection, there have been no failures, yet. So all starting positions of all drivers mentioned in the story, below, are now official.

Daniel Suarez claimed the provisional pole starting spot for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta by posting a 184.590 mph lap in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying Friday evening. Qualifying results won’t be made official by NASCAR until cars undergo inspections Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. ET. If Suarez’s car passes its inspection, Suarez will be credited with his second-career Cup Series pole, his first of 2019.

“I feel pretty good about it,” Suarez said. “The whole day has been pretty smooth today. The 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang has been pretty quick. We haven’t done a lot to it. It is big when you unload the car from the hauler and the car is fast out of the box. I feel very good about it. My crew chief and my engineer have done an amazing job. My entire team building this race car. We showed speed today, so hopefully, we can keep up that track position. Track position will be huge tomorrow. Hopefully, we can keep it all night long and make a good clean race. I feel like we have everything it takes to make it happen, so why not? We have had a lot of first-time winners lately; why not have a third one here?”

Barring an issue in inspections, Stewart-Haas Racing teammates will start on the front row, with Suarez’s teammate Aric Almirola qualifying second.

“It is a great day for us,” Almirola said. “Everybody has been doing a good job of trying to figure out how to bring more speed and more driveability in our cars. I feel like this weekend, so far, we are off to a good start, and the cars are fast and driving good. We have part one done; we have qualified up front and got ourselves good track position and pit stall selection and good clean air. Now, we just have to go put a race together.”

Almirola held the provisional pole for a brief time in qualifying before being knocked down a notch by Suarez, the last driver to make a qualifying attempt Friday.

Including the Ford sweep of the front row, the manufacturer claimed four of the provisional top-five spots on the starting grid. Brad Keselowski, who leads the way with three Cup Series win at Kentucky Speedway, qualified third, and a third Stewart-Haas Racing driver, Kevin Harvick, qualified fifth. A former SHR driver, Kurt Busch, was the only non-Ford driver to qualify in the top-five, putting his Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet in the provisional fourth spot on the grid.

All four Stewart-Haas Racing drivers qualified in the top-seven. Bowyer was seventh in Friday’s qualifying session.

Almirola wasn’t the first driver to have the provisional pole taken away by a teammate. Austin Dillon was the provisional pole sitter early in qualifying before being replaced at the top by Richard Childress Racing teammate Daniel Hemric. Both RCR drivers remained in the top-10, with Hemric qualifying sixth and Dillon ninth.

Other drivers in the top-10 in qualifying included Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch in eighth and 10th, respectively. Truex was the highest-qualifying Toyota.

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Posted by on July 13, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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