The Stewart-Haas Racing duo of Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch continued their fast pace in Happy Hour at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday.
Harvick, who enjoys seven victories at PIR including wins in four of the last five races, topped the session with a 26.409-second single-lap (136.317 mph). Busch trailed his SHR teammate by just 0.028-seconds (136.173 mph) and acknowledged "the low-downforce package is coming into play."
Polesitter Kyle Busch was third (136.096 mph) followed by rookie Chase Elliott (136.044 mph) and Austin Dillon (135.947 mph), who continues to show improvement this season under the direction of crew chief Slugger Labbe.
“It’s been a good start to the year for our Dow team,” Dillon said. “We have just been plugging along trying to eliminate mistakes each and every week.Things have been going well for us.
“Hopefully, we can continue this streak and continue our run to the front of the field.”
Kasey Kahne was sixth quick (135.926 mph) with his back-up engine, followed by Brad Keselowski (135.916 mph) — the top Ford, Martin Truex Jr. (135.905 mph), Joey Logano (135.859 mph) and rookie Ryan Blaney (135.813 mph).
Kahne also led the Best 10 Consecutive Lap Averages with a speed of 135.339 mph. Kurt Busch was second (135.263 mph) followed by Truex (135.174 mph), Paul Menard 135.054 mph and Kyle Busch 134.977 mph.
Blaney, who completed the most laps (54), will make his first career Cup start here on Sunday. He hopes the momentum from his sixth-place finish at Las Vegas will carry over at Phoenix.
“Luckily for us we had a good run at Vegas after a bad run at Atlanta,” Blaney said. “That showed we can rebound well and hopefully we can ride this momentum wave over this weekend at Phoenix. I am trying to get myself used to the race track with these cars.”