Kevin Harvick beats Kyle Busch to Pocono pole

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Kevin Harvick beats Kyle Busch to Pocono pole
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Jul 28, 2018, 9:11 PM

Kevin Harvick has put himself in the best position to earn his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at Pocono Raceway.

Harvick went out early in the final five-minute session of qualifying and bolted to the top spot with an average lap speed of 177.750 mph to claim the pole for Sunday’s Gander Outdoors 400.

Pocono is one of just two tracks (Kentucky is the other) on the current Cup series schedule on which Harvick has never won a race.

The pole is his third of the 2018 season and 24th of his career.

“It was really about putting all those corners together in the first two rounds,” Harvick said. “I still didn’t get it all right in the final round but it was a lot closer than the first round.

“It’s a lot of fun driving these cars. And the guys working on these cars are so good at what they do and working on the details on a week-to-week basis and just don’t ever quit and just keep pushing ahead. That’s what it takes.

“This is the regular season but the regular season can make the postseason go a lot better if you get it right.”

Kyle Busch, who won the Camping World Truck Series race earlier in the day, ended up second (177.434 mph) and Daniel Suarez ended up a surprising third (176.988 mph). Kyle Larson and Joey Logano completed the top-five.

Rounding out the Top 12 starters are William Byron, Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, Brad Keselowski, Jamie McMurray, Chase Elliott and Austin Dillon.

Under the impound rules for the condensed Cup weekend schedule, if any car failed its first attempt through post-qualifying inspection, it would have its qualifying speed disallowed. Additional failures would result in the loss of team members.

Round 2

Jones rocketed to the top of the leaderboard in the second round with an average lap speed of 176.672 mph.

Byron ended up a surprising second (176.571 mph) and both drivers topped Harvick (176.519 mph), who was fastest in Round 1. Larson was fourth and Keselowski completed the top-five.

Also advancing to the final round were Suarez, McMurray, Logano, Austin Dillon, Elliott, Hamlin and Kyle Busch. Dillon and Larson were the final two cars to attempt a lap in the 10-minute session.

Among those who failed to make the cut were Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola and Alex Bowman. Truex won the June race at Pocono while Blaney had won the pole.

“I wish we were starting better for my 600th start,” Johnson said. “It’s been an honor to drive these cars for Hendrick Motorsports. Hopefully, we’re sitting on a good race set-up.”

Round 1

Even though he bobbled on his run, Harvick still easily paced the first round of qualifying, with an average lap speed of 176.170 mph.

Kurt Busch was second (175.805 mph) and Jones was third (175.552 mph). Keselowski and Truex completed the top-five.

“That was a unicorn lap,” Busch said over his team radio.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Newman, Suarez, Larson, Logano and Menard.

Among those who failed to advance were Chris Buescher, A.J. Allmendinger, Ty Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Stenhouse had to abort his first qualifying lap attempt as he told his team he was so loose he “was about to wreck.” He returned to pit road for adjustments. He made it out to register a lap just before the conclusion of the first round but ended up 30th.

“Car's not driving very good, and it has no speed, so we’re really just struggling,” Stenhouse said. “We came here with hopes of being better, but we’re not much different than we were the first time we were here this year.”

Buescher, who won his first series race at Pocono, said he believed his No. 37 Chevrolet was fast enough to advance.

“I didn’t get through (Turn) 2 as good as we needed to,” he said. “We didn’t get a qualifying run in during practice.”

Cla#DriverManufacturerTimeGapMph
1 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 50.633   177.750
2 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 50.723 0.090 177.434
3 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 50.851 0.218 176.988
4 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 50.853 0.220 176.981
5 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 50.969 0.336 176.578
6 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 50.993 0.360 176.495
7 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 51.012 0.379 176.429
8 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 51.023 0.390 176.391
9 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 51.050 0.417 176.298
10 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 51.103 0.470 176.115
11 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 51.112 0.479 176.084
12 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 51.184 0.551 175.836
13 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 51.322 0.689 175.363
14 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 51.356 0.723 175.247
15 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 51.398 0.765 175.104
16 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 51.498 0.865 174.764
17 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 51.504 0.871 174.744
18 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 51.530 0.897 174.656
19 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 51.534 0.901 174.642
20 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 51.540 0.907 174.622
21 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 51.553 0.920 174.578
22 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 51.595 0.962 174.436
23 6 united_states Matt Kenseth  Ford 51.654 1.021 174.236
24 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 52.168 1.535 172.520
25 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 51.990 1.357 173.110
26 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 52.023 1.390 173.000
27 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 52.118 1.485 172.685
28 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 52.174 1.541 172.500
29 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 52.241 1.608 172.278
30 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 52.319 1.686 172.022
31 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 52.517 1.884 171.373
32 96 united_states Jeffrey Earnhardt  Toyota 53.313 2.680 168.814
33 23 united_states J.J. Yeley  Toyota 53.323 2.690 168.783
34 72 united_states Corey Lajoie  Chevrolet 53.346 2.713 168.710
35 15 united_states Gray Gaulding  Chevrolet 53.557 2.924 168.045
36 99 united_states Kyle Weatherman  Chevrolet 53.767 3.134 167.389
37 00 united_states Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 53.976 3.343 166.741
38 7 united_states Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 54.276 3.643 165.819
39 51 united_states B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 54.286 3.653 165.789
40 66 united_states Timmy Hill  Toyota 54.652 4.019 164.678

 

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Joey Logano tops Harvick in final practice at Pocono

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Harvick and Busch have times disallowed; Suarez declared pole winner

Harvick and Busch have times disallowed; Suarez declared pole winner
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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Pocono II
Location Pocono Raceway
Drivers Kevin Harvick
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing
Author Jim Utter
Article type Qualifying report