BUSCH: The Phoenix pole belongs to Harvick

Kevin Harvick is getting to be a familiar sight at the Busch pole award board. Harvick, Thursday, scored his fifth pole of the season in the Busch series on time, breaking the track record with a lap of 132.930 mph. "It was a pretty good lap,...

Kevin Harvick is getting to be a familiar sight at the Busch pole award board. Harvick, Thursday, scored his fifth pole of the season in the Busch series on time, breaking the track record with a lap of 132.930 mph.

"It was a pretty good lap, and I don't know if it could have been any better," said Harvick. "We came out here and tested and that seems to have paid off for us."

Three other times this season, rain has placed Harvick on the pole based on owner points.

"We got a lot of stuff out of the way when we tested here that we would have done when we got here," continued Harvick. "It gave us a little bit of a head start today."

This marks Harvick's 11th career series pole award.

Reigning series champion Greg Biffle starts second, with a lap of 132.071 mph.

Rookie of the year contender David Stremme rolls off third, and has more on his mind than just the race on Saturday. If Stremme performs well this weekend, he can move to the lead in rookie points.

"If I perform well this weekend, I could take over the points lead in the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year competition," Stremme said. "Right now I'm only six points behind Coy Gibbs, the current leader."

Bobby Hamilton, Jr. was fourth, but awash with spite over Harvick's time.

"I just got back from the Busch truck," said Hamilton. "Every week those guys are complaining about something we do, and it just isn't normal that all they do is put oil in the car and change tires and pick up half a second. It just ain't right. I don't mind getting beat, but I just hate being out-cheated. We'll just keep digging and do what we have to do. The good thing is we can say our time is legitimate."

All top four racers broke the 132 mph mark at PIR on the newly designed racing surface.

David Green rounds out the top five starters. Green leads the field in series standings by 13 points over Scott Riggs. Riggs takes the green flag from 12th, while Brian Vickers, who fell to fifth, last week, starts sixth.

"This is the first time in a while that we'll be able to see the guys up front when we start a race," said Riggs. "But it's still not where we need to be; it's still not what we're capable of. We still have a better team than we've been qualifying lately.

The race for the Busch title is the closest in series history, with a mere 49 points separating the top five.

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Coy Gibbs , David Green , Scott Riggs , Brian Vickers , David Stremme