Kevin Harvick smashed the qualifying track record at Kansas Speedway on his way to the Coors Light Pole Award in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
The previous record had been set by Matt Kenseth, winner of the 2013 race, with a speed of 191.864 mph, but in the second round of knockout qualifying, Harvick came through to post a speed of 194.568 mph. He was unable to improve his time in the final session, but still heads the field with a speed of 194.252 mph for his second pole of the year.
“My qualifying record hasn’t been great, but the team has really done a good job at getting our qualifying stuff situated after the first four or five weeks to the season to come here and sit on the pole,” said Harvick, who has two wins to his name in 2014 already. “I thought I had screwed it up. I felt like I got through turns one and two on all three laps pretty good, but three and four was a little bit too tight. I got a little bit concerned, but all in all it worked out OK.”
Harvick beat a trio of Fords to pole, with the Penske pairing of Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski taking second and third respectively, while Carl Edwards completes the second row of the grid.
It was not a session to remember for the Hendrick Motorsports drivers, with all four failing to make it in to the final segment. Jeff Gordon was the best of four, narrowly missing out on the final segment in 13th, leading Jimmie Johnson (14th), Kasey Kahne (17th) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (22nd).
Reigning race winner Kenseth failed to make it out of the first session, only managing to qualify in 28th place, two places ahead of team-mate and Talladega winner, Denny Hamlin. The only non-qualifier for the race was Dave Blaney, who only managed to set the 40th fastest time, having required to qualify 36th or better to race.
However, Ryan Blaney, son of Dave, will make his Sprint Cup debut in the Saturday night race, qualifying the #12 Ford in 21st place.
“It feels good to make it,” said the younger Blaney. “It is a shame my dad couldn’t make it. it sucks. I really did want to race out there with him. It would have been really cool but hopefully we will get another chance.”