KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Kevin Harvick didn’t save his best for last during Friday night’s knockout qualifying session for Saturday night’s 5-Hour Energy 400 Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway.
He didn’t have to.
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver posted a lap in the final minute of the final of three rounds of qualifying at 194.252 mph. That was slower than the track-record lap of 194.658 mph in the second round but was plenty good enough to win the Coors Light Pole.
The pole was the second of the season for Harvick. His two poles in 2014 represents 25 percent of the eight poles he has won during a Sprint Cup that began in 2001.
“It’s a miracle that we’ve won two poles in one season,” Harvick joked during his press conference.
Harvick’s first pole of the season came three races ago in Darlington. He followed that pole up with a victory in the Darlington race.
“Usually when Friday goes well, it bodes well for the rest of the weekend,” Harvick, who arrived in Kansas 19th in points, said.
Qualifying second-fastest Friday, with a lap at 193.910 mph, was Joey Logano of Team Penske.
He said his fast laps started well, but, “I couldn’t hold the speed through turns 3 and 4 to get the pole.”
Logano’s teammate, Brad Keselowski, was third with a lap at 193.507 mph.
Carl Edwards will start Saturday at the track he considers to be his home turf from the fourth spot. The Missouri native’s fast lap was at 193.188 mph.
Fifth was Kyle Larson, the Chip Ganassi Racing rookie. His lap was 193.050 mph.
Rounding out the finishing order in the final in the 12-driver Round 3 were Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray and Aric Almirola.
In all, the first 10 drivers in the third round beat the track qualifying record. Kansas became the sixth track in 2014 to set qualifying records.
Heading into the final minute of the final session, the Penske cars of Logano and Keselowski were first and second.
But then, as the clock wound down, out came Harvick and the pole was his.
In the first round, Kurt Busch had the fast lap at 193.611 mph. That was a track record, beating the old mark of 191.864 mph, which belonged to Matt Kenseth and was set in the spring race of 2013.
In the second round, which featured the fastest 24 drivers from the first round, Harvick wasted no time blowing Busch’s fast time from Round 1 away with the big lap.
With just over 30 seconds to go in the second round, Danica Patrick jumped from outside of the top 20 into 12th and a berth in the final round. She bumped Jeff Gordon in doing so. It gave her a second-straight top-10 starting position as she was seventh last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.
With 44 cars entered, only one was sent home after qualifying. That car belonged to Dave Blaney. That spoiled his opportunity to race against his son, Ryan, in the younger Blaney’s Sprint Cup debut.