Win from the pole at Kansas was an eye-opener for Kevin Harvick

CONCORD, NC - OCTOBER 10:  Kevin Harvick, driver of the #33 Fast Fixin' Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

CONCORD, NC – OCTOBER 10: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #33 Fast Fixin’ Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

CONCORD, N.C.—Kevin Harvick had all but forgotten how smooth an afternoon could be when you start from the pole position and pit in stall No. 1.

But Harvick used his first pole in seven years to full advantage in winning last Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, the fourth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

“Running good and running up front, you’ll probably get more good breaks than you will running mid-pack, because you’ll just have more options,” Harvick said Thursday afternoon before practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway. That’s just like qualifying last week.

“I think that really opened our eyes to realizing, when you have a qualifying day like that, you had a lot more options when it came time to come down pit road—and not having to scramble all day to keep yourself in the game.”

Two things augur favorably for Harvick this week at Charlotte—his win at Kansas and his victory in May in the Coca-Cola 600, the first points of the season at the 1.5-mile track.

“Obviously, last week went about as well as you could write it down on a piece of paper for us,” Harvick said. “Sitting on the pole and winning the race is a little bit out of character from what we’ve done in the past.

“But I think, for us, it gives us a lot of confidence in the things we can do and need to do to keep ourselves in position to continue to race for this championship over the next several weeks.”

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