After the conclusion of Saturday’s qualifying for Sunday’s Gander Outdoors 400 at Pocono Raceway, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch had plenty of reason to be thrilled after being the two fastest drivers in the session. Moments later, however, the pair – along with eleven other drivers – found themselves caught in an scrutiny nightmare as they failed post-qualifying inspection, relegating them to the rear of the field for the race.
Harvick recorded the fastest time in qualifying with a speed of 177.750 mph, ahead of Busch (50.723 seconds, 177.434 mph). However, the two were unable to exit inspection unscathed, resulting in their qualifying times being disallowed. While Harvick’s woes took place at the Optical Scanning Station, Busch’s occurred at the chassis station. Although Harvick qualified ahead of Busch, the latter will start in front of Harvick as their new starting spots are set based on owner’s points; Busch (first) was ahead of Harvick (second).
Suárez, who posted a time of 50.851 seconds (176.988 mph), was therefore promoted to the top spot for his first career Cup pole and front row start. Prior to this weekend, his best starting position had been third at Dover International Speedway in 2017.
“Next time I hope I can get the pole by being the fastest guy, not by a couple of guys being disqualified,” Suárez said. “But it’s fine, we’ll take it.”
Busch and Harvick are not the only drivers that suffered at inspection. Eleven others – Kyle Larson (qualified fourth), Joey Logano (fifth), William Byron (sixth), Austin Dillon (tenth), Jimmie Johnson (fifteenth), Paul Menard (seventeenth), Ryan Blaney (eighteenth), Aric Almirola (nineteenth), Clint Bowyer (twenty-first), Darrell Wallace Jr. (twenty-second), and Kasey Kahne (twenty-fourth) – all failed their respective scrutinizing, and will also be moved to the back.
As a result, the revised starting lineup will feature Joe Gibbs Racing team-mates on the front row with Suárez and Denny Hamlin. At the rear, points leader Busch is the highest-placed penalized driver in twenty-eighth, followed by Harvick, Logano, Bowyer, Larson, Blaney, Almirola, Johnson, Menard, Dillon, Byron, Wallace, and Kahne.