LONG POND, Pa. — Reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champ Kevin Harvick is winless in 28 career starts at Pocono Raceway. But he came close last August, finishing second to Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the GoBowling.com 400, and he’s consistently had the fastest car on the track this weekend.
“Pocono is one of those places where I haven’t had a ton of success,” Harvick says. “Probably the best memory I have there is winning a truck race.”
But the series points leader finally appears to have things zeroed in. His Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet posted the fastest lap time in all three practices for Sunday’s race, including a 175.974 mph circuit to edge Kyle Larson (175.292) in Saturday’s final practice.
“The car is really fast,” says Harvick, who also ran the fastest times in the first two qualifying sessions on Friday before settling for his fifth-place starting spot. His teammate, Kurt Busch, will start on the pole.
Chevrolet drivers Earnhardt Jr. (who swept last year’s Cup races at Pocono), Martin Truex Jr. (second in points), Kasey Kahne, Larson and Busch each turned top-10 laps in both of Saturday practice sessions. So did the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota drivers Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards, who had a top-four or better car in each of the three Pocono practices.
Jimmie Johnson, looking to build on his fourth victory of the season last week at Dover, was 19th in final practice. No Ford driver was better than 14th on Saturday (Brad Keselowski in the morning, Greg Biffle in final practice).
NASCAR Named “National Treasure”
NASCAR has been named one of the United States’ “National Treasures” by PARADE magazine and will be featured in the widely distributed print edition this Sunday.
PARADE’s ongoing series highlights “uniquely American people, places and things that make us very, very happy,” and so has also recognized the Declaration of Independence, the Hollywood sign, Stevie Wonder and potato chips among other “National Treasures.”
The NASCAR distinction is supported by Sprint Cup driver Danica Patrick, who describes the sport as “totally American – NASCAR’s roots are true.”