Harvick is fastest in all categories at Pocono Raceway -- except the final round of time trials.
Kevin Harvick made a statement in Happy Hour.
NASCAR might have penalized the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team this week by forcing crew chief Rodney Childers to take the last pit selection, but the speed the defending Sprint Cup champions have exhibited all weekend long at Pocono Raceway bodes well for Sunday.
Harvick, who led all three practices, topped the speed chart with a lap of 175.974 mph in the final session. Harvick also posted the fastest times in the first two sessions of qualifying. On Saturday, the No. 4 Chevy completed 24 laps.
Kyle Larson wasn't second quick with a lap of 175.292 mph. Larson was pleased with the adjustments the Chip Ganassi Racing team made to the No. 42 Target Chevy throughout the weekend.
I feel real good through the Tunnel Turn compared to yesterday. I’m not bouncing as bad through there as I was yesterday.
“The guys on this Target team made some changes overnight and started out the first run too loose, came back and kind of went back a little bit and felt good the second run out,” said Larson, who starts 15th in the Axalta 400.
“I feel real good through the Tunnel Turn compared to yesterday. I’m not bouncing as bad through there as I was yesterday. So they’ve gotten the car handling better through there, for sure. And I think that’s a lot of the lap time. Happy with how the car is performing right now and we’ll just tweak on it some more.”
Harvick and Larson led the charge of seven Hendrick-powered cars among the fastest top 10 in Happy Hour. Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards, polesitter Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top 10.
Initially, Earnhardt wasn’t pleased with the changes the team made to the No. 88 Chevy throughout the course of the session even though his fast lap of 174.452 mph was just 0.014 slower than Harvick.
“I don’t like this thing right now,” Earnhardt said over the radio. “All of the things that we have done are not good together. Some of the changes by themselves have been ok, but everything piled together are not a good car.”
However, after crew chief Greg Ives took another stab at dialing the car in, Earnhardt, who has won the last two races at Pocono felt better about the balance.
I thought it was turning good in all of the corners — turning a little bit better in Turn 3.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“That was free, but I had something to lean on,” Earnhardt said. “I thought it was turning good in all of the corners — turning a little bit better in Turn 3.”
Again, the Fords appeared to struggle in practice at Pocono. Greg Biffle had the fastest laps among the Fusions with a speed of 174.290 mph.