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NASCAR Cup: Kevin Harvick turns week around with Phoenix pole

during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway on November 9, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.

By AMANDA VINCENT

Kevin Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team has experienced peaks and valleys over the course of the last week. They left Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 4 thinking they had their championship four berth for Homestead-Miami Speedway clinched by their Texas win. But days later, that automatic berth was rescinded as a result of a spoiler issue discovered in a teardown inspection at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. The team hopes to bounce back Sunday at ISM (formerly Phoenix International) Raceway, a track at which Harvick is a nine-time winner. He’ll begin his bid for a 10th win from the pole of Sunday’s Can-Am 500 as a result of a third-round qualifying lap on Friday that clocked in at 25.836 seconds/139.340 mph. It’s his fourth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole of the season, the second of his career at Phoenix.

“It’s been a good day for us,” Harvick said. “All we concentrated on was qualifying, and obviously, we had some good adjustments to the car right there at the end, and I was actually able to drive the car without screwing it up. It was definitely a good lap for us and came at a good time.”

Harvick will share the second row with another playoff driver, Chase Elliott.

“The guys brought me a great NAPA Chevy this week, and one of these days I’ll figure out how to qualify on a non-plate track, maybe,” Elliott said. “I had a car to do it today, and I didn’t get it done. So we’ll go to work on Sunday.”

Before Elliott wound up second in the third round of qualifying he posted a 25.823-second/139.411 mph lap in the second round, the fastest lap, overall, of Friday’s qualifying session.

Matt Kenseth was fastest in round one with a 26.028-second/138.313 mph lap. After posting the fastest lap in the opening round, though, Kenseth wound up 17th in round two, while his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. qualified third, fastest among non-playoff drivers.

For of the eight playoff drivers advanced to the third round, or round of 12, of qualifying. Kyle Busch qualified sixth, and Joey Logano, the lone driver already with his playoff final-round berth secured, was ninth.

Martin Truex Jr. was 13th in qualifying, barely missing the final round, on a day of difficulty that included very limited practice time and multiple failed pre-qualifying inspection attempts. He didn’t make it onto the track until the final minutes of Friday’s lone practice session, and his car failed pre-qualifying inspection three time, resulting in the ejection of car chief Blake Harris and a further reduction of practice time Saturday.

“This seems to be kind of par for the course for us lately,” Truex said. “I’d say 13th is a pretty good starting spot for the day we’ve had. We really didn’t get a crack at anything in practice, and we didn’t have much time to get ready for qualifying, and we were pretty far off. Made some good gains, for sure. I wish we could have ran again. I definitely feel like I could pick up some more; we were pretty tight. We’ll start 13th and get to work tomorrow.”

Additonal playoff drivers and Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammates — Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola — were the final three in qualifying among playoff drivers but started nose-to-tail in the inside line Sunday. Busch qualified 14th, Bowyer 16th and Almirola 18th.

Below, is the complete starting grid for Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway:

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Posted by on November 10, 2018. 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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