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NASCAR Cup: Kevin Harvick on pole at Darlington

No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford of Kevin Harvick on track at Darlington Raceway (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford of Kevin Harvick on track at Darlington Raceway (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Kevin Harvick posted a 27.669-second/177.730 mph lap in the third and final round of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Saturday to claim the pole for Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500. It’s Harvick’s second Southern 500 pole, with the first leading to a win in 2014.

“Track position is never a disadvantage,” Harvick said. No matter if it’s high tire wear, low tire wear, the biggest advantage here is the first pit stall, because the timing line is so close to the pit exit there with the first stall. So, that’s really the biggest advantage.  I think if your car is handling good, you can make your way through traffic, but having that first pit stall if you car is not handling good, it allows you to make up two or three spots if you have a decent pit stop, and hopefully, keep that track position all night. That’s really the biggest advantage.”

Martin Truex Jr. started on the front row, alongside Harvick.

“That was, definitely, a good, successful qualifying session for us,” Truex said. “We  thought we were off a little bit the first round, then just kept working on the car and kind of adjusted the driving style a little throughout all three rounds, and we ended up second. So, seems like we’ve been second a lot this year, and it’s been a good number for us, and hopefully, it’ll be a good one tomorrow night.”

Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch claimed second-row spots on the starting grid.

Obviously, I would like to be on the pole, but it’s a lot better than I have ever qualified here,” Larson said. “That will help our pit stall selection, and hopefully,  have a good race tomorrow. Just got to keep it out of the wall and should be alright.”

Jamie McMurray and Brad Keselowski started in the third row in the fifth and sixth positions.

Harvick was fast throughout the qualifying session, posting fastest laps in all three rounds. His 27.598-second/178.187 mph lap in the opening round was the fastest lap, overall, of the qualifying session and the only lap of record over 178 mph. In the second round, Harvick posted a 27.703-second/177.511 mph lap.

“It feels pretty good,” Harvick said. “We’re on the pole. It’s been a good start to the weekend for us and the car is driving good and we w’re able to put three laps together. Everything is going well.”

Here’s a look at the complete starting grid for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway:
Row 1 — Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Ford), Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota)
Row 2 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet)
Row 3 — Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet), Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford)
Row 4 — Kurt Busch (No. 41 Ford), Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford)
Row 5 — Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota), Erik Jones (No. 77 Toyota)
Row 6 — Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota), Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford)
Row 7 — Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 8 — Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford), Clint Bowyer (No. 14 Ford)
Row 9 — Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)
Row 10 — Daniel Suarez (No. 19 Toyota), Chase Elliott (No. 24 Chevrolet)
Row 11 — Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet)
Row 12 — Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet), Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford)
Row 13 — Ty Dillon (No. 13 Chevrolet), David Ragan (No. 38 Ford)
Row 14 — Chris Buescher (No. 37 Chevrolet), Matt DiBenedetto (No. 32 Ford)
Row 15 — A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet), Michael McDowell (No. 95 Chevrolet)
Row 16 — Landon Cassill (No. 34 Ford), Reed Sorenson (No. 15 Toyota)
Row 17 — Danica Patrick (No. 10 Ford), Cole Whitt (No. 72 Chevrolet)
Row 18 — Corey LaJoie (No. 23 Toyota), Gray Gaulding (No. 83 Toyota)
Row 19 — Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 33 Chevrolet), Derrike Cope (No. 55 Toyota)
Row 20 — Cody Ware (No. 41 Chevrolet), Carl Long (No. 66 Chevrolet)

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on September 2, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,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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