KANSAS CITY, Kan. – It was easy for driver Kevin Harvick to remember what transpired the last time he started from the pole.
For one thing, he won the race. For another, he doesn’t lead qualifying often.
Harvick earned his first pole since September 2006 on Friday when he turned the fastest lap at Kansas Speedway. Harvick knocked Ricky Stenhouse Jr. from the top spot and Jimmie Johnson into the second row for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400, the fourth race in NASCAR’s 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.
“When you win that few poles, you can remember what happened those particular days,” Harvick said. “You know, throughout my career, for whatever reason, we haven’t qualified well and we always seem to race better than we qualify.”
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Harvick, who is fourth in points, turned a lap of 187.526 mph in qualifying. Stenhouse was next at 187.480 and Johnson was third at 187.162.
Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw will start in 15th and Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., will start in 26th.
It is the sixth time in 460 races Harvick has led the field to the green flag, and ends a drought of 254 races without a pole. It is also the first pole for the Richard Childress Racing team since Clint Bowyer sat on the front in September 2007.
“It’s never been really something that honestly we put a lot of effort into to try to figure out what we needed to do,” Harvick said. “We’ve always been able to work by not qualifying well and winning races. It’s just kind of been that way.”
It helps to start from the front, though, especially this weekend.
The track underwent a repave last year and, combined with the new “multi-zone” tread tire Goodyear has introduced, track position might be at a premium.