After Friday afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying session at Kansas Speedway, the question “What’s wrong with the Stewart-Haas cars?” may be a dead issue.
Hurtling around the 1.5-mile track in 30.131 seconds (179.217 mph), Kevin Harvick led a four-car Stewart-Haas Racing sweep of time trials for Saturday’s Digital Ally 400 (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Harvick was .083 seconds faster than teammate Aric Almirola (178.725 mph), who in turned topped Clint Bowyer (178.324 mph) by .068 seconds. Daniel Suarez completed the SHR monopoly at 178.247 mph.
The Busch Pole Award was Harvick’s third of the season, his fifth at Kansas and the 28th of his career. The driver of the No. 4 Ford picked up his third victory at the 1.5-mile track in this race last year, when he also started from the pole.
Harvick’s performance in time trials backed up the speed he showed during Friday’s final practice, when his fastest lap was fourth on the speed chart, and his consecutive averages for 10, 15 and 20 laps were fastest across the board.
“I thought we had a chance at the pole,” said Harvick, who is looking for his first victory of 2019 after a banner eight-win season last year. “We didn’t know exactly how fast it would run, and the guys did a great job. Really, this is a car that’s been a couple months in the making.
“We knew we had some work to do on the mile-and-a-half race tracks with this particular package, and every department at Stewart-Haas Racing and the engine shop at Roush Yates—obviously, they’ve won a few races this year (with Team Penske). But they just continue to work, and the guys on this team have done a great job of detailing things out…
“I’m happy with how my car drove. It has a ton of speed, and hopefully we can capitalize on it.”
Bowyer, from nearby Emporia, Kansas, held the top spot in qualifying until Almirola and Harvick surpassed him in quick succession.
“It’s fun to be back at Kansas,” said Bowyer, who best finish at the track (second) came in 2007. “It’s fun to be in a fast car at home. That’s the biggest thing. You come home and you just want to run good. I have been beat up pretty bad here.
“There are so many media members, fans, family, everybody tells me how I have to do better at home. Obviously, everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing has been working hard to get us in victory lane and I think their efforts are really starting to show.”
Chase Elliott qualified fifth in the fastest Chevrolet, with Monday’s Dover winner, Martin Truex Jr., claiming the sixth starting spot in the top Toyota. William Byron, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski and Alex Bowman completed the top 10 on the grid.
Series leader Kyle Busch will start 13th next to his brother, Kurt Busch, who ran the exact same time as his sibling (30.586 seconds at 176.551 mph).
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying Results Digital Ally 400
Kansas City, Kansas
Friday, May 10, 2019
1. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 179.217 mph.
2. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 178.725 mph.
3. (14) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 178.324 mph.
4. (41) Daniel Suarez, Ford, 178.247 mph.
5. (9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 177.954 mph.
6. (19) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 177.357 mph.
7. (24) William Byron, Chevrolet, 177.148 mph.
8. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 176.875 mph.
9. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 176.817 mph.
10. (88) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 176.806 mph.
11. (20) Erik Jones, Toyota, 176.603 mph.
12. (43) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 176.592 mph.
13. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 176.551 mph.
14. (1) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 176.551 mph.
15. (13) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 176.442 mph.
16. (21) Paul Menard, Ford, 176.217 mph.
17. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 176.177 mph.
18. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 176.051 mph.
19. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 176.033 mph.
20. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 175.730 mph.
21. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 175.713 mph.
22. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 175.604 mph.
23. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford, 175.222 mph.
24. (32) Corey LaJoie, Ford, 175.211 mph.
25. (00) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 175.194 mph.
26. (8) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 175.182 mph.
27. (37) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 174.820 mph.
28. (6) Ryan Newman, Ford, 174.797 mph.
29. (95) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 174.661 mph.
30. (31) Tyler Reddick(i), Chevrolet, 174.576 mph.
31. (47) Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 174.543 mph.
32. (52) Bayley Currey(i), Ford, 174.441 mph.
33. (38) David Ragan, Ford, 174.239 mph.
34. (77) Quin Houff, Chevrolet, 173.505 mph.
35. (36) Matt Tifft #, Ford, 173.121 mph.
36. (15) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 172.844 mph.
37. (51) Cody Ware(i), Chevrolet, 170.940 mph.
38. (46) Joey Gase(i), Toyota, 168.608 mph.
39. (66) Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 156.590 mph.
40. (27) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.