Kevin Harvick leads Stewart-Haas Racing sweep of first four spots in Kansas Speedway qualifying
Kevin Harvick claimed the pole for Saturday night’s Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway with a 30.131-second/179.217 mph lap in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying on Friday evening. The pole was Harvick’s third of the season and his fifth at Kansas Speedway.
"This has just been a really good race track for us since they have redone it, and even when I was at RCR, this was probably our best race track,” Harvick said. "Coming here to SHR and having the success we have had here, we feel like we have lost more than we should have at this particular race track for one reason or another, but we have also had good success here, whether it is poles or wins. It is a place that fits a lot of things that I like to do in the car and they like to put in the car. It has been a happy spot for us. You just have to take advantage of those places and try to get a good result out of those places that you think you should.”
Harvick and his three Stewart-Haas Racing teammates -- Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez -- all were among the final 11 drivers of the 40 who made qualifying attempts, and at the end of the session, they were first through fourth on the starting grid. Almirola qualified second to start alongside Harvick on the front row, and Bowyer and Suarez claimed second-row starting positions.
“We have really fast race cars,” Almirola said. "Our Ford Mustangs are fast, and I like it. It is fun when you show up to the race track and have a lot of speed. It has been tough to show up to these race tracks and just not feel like we were one of the cars to beat, so it feels good to show up here and have the speed we have today, and I am looking forward to the race tomorrow night. Hopefully we can carry that speed through the rest of the race.”
Before the SHR foursome hit the track, a couple of Hendrick Motorsports teammates -- Chase Elliott and William Byron -- were on the provisional front row, in position to possibly give HMS its second-straight front-row qualifying sweep. But Almirola went out 30th in the qualifying order to knock Elliott from the provisional pole, only to be knocked off the provisional pole by his teammate a few cars later.
Elliott remained the top qualifier among those not part of the Stewart-Haas Racing camp, taking the fifth position on the grid.
“It was okay; it was fine,” Elliott said of his qualifying effort. “I thought everything was smooth and our car drove okay, which was fine. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Byron, though, was knocked down another notch by Martin Truex Jr., with Truex qualifying sixth and Byron seventh.
“I am happy with that. It’s better than we anticipated,” Truex said. “Made a lot of changes after practice, thinking we were going to better. We didn’t have any idea where we would qualify, so I think we are happy with that. We expected to be a little slower.”