KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kevin Harvick has a second straight shot at winning from the pole at Kansas Speedway.
Harvick was back on top at the 1.5-mile track, posting a track record to help propel him to his second pole of the season. Harvick posted his record 194.658 mph lap Friday in the second round of NASCAR’s knockout qualifying format. His No. 4 Chevrolet hit 194.252 in the third round to give him two straight poles at Kansas, after he won from the top spot at October’s race.
“It was ‘Freaky Fast’ today, so just have to put it all together tomorrow night when it counts,” Harvick said.
Harvick has two wins this season and won from the pole at Darlington. He will lead the field to green Saturday under the lights for the first time in a Sprint Cup race at Kansas. Joey Logano joined Harvick on the front row.
Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five.
His qualifying spins over, Keselowski worked hard defending himself from drivers — like former champion Jimmie Johnson — who said he didn’t need to race so hard when he was out of contention Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.
Keselowski fell six laps off the pace while his car was repaired from an earlier accident. When he returned to the track, he decided to race hard with the leaders in an attempt to slowly get his laps back and maybe put himself back in position to win.
Keselowski eventually spun in the middle of the pack to trigger a 14-car accident that wrecked former champions Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart and Johnson.
“You have to think being six laps down you are not going to get back on the lead lap,” Johnson said Friday. “There is an opinion, if you are on the race track you deserve a right to go race regardless how many laps down you are. I’m sure that is probably a smaller percentage of people have that opinion. It’s very easy when you are caught up in that wreck is to go, ‘Why were you racing? You are six laps down.’ It just depends on where you are.”
Keselowski brushed off the barbs from his rivals.
“That’s his right,” Keselowski said. “We all hold the steering wheel. There’s 43 of us out there and we all hold it a little bit differently and make different decisions. It would be quite lame to watch if we all did the same thing and had the same ideas and personnas.
“I’d say in most cases, I probably wouldn’t have done it. But in that case, I felt like it was the proper thing to do with having the potential to race the 1 car (Jamie McMurray) and get back in sequence. If we got back in sequence, we had enough speed in our car, with yellows, to have a shot at winning the race. I wasn’t ready to give up.”
Kurt Busch was sixth, followed by Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart. Danica Patrick qualified ninth for her second straight top-10 start and Greg Biffle was 10th.
Saavedra wins FIRST pole after Hunter-Reay crash: In Indianapolis, a slick surface was all it took for Sebastian Saavedra to win his first IndyCar Series pole.
It was also just enough to slip Ryan Hunter-Reay out of the top starting spot for Saturday’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
Saavedra won the pole Friday when Hunter-Reay appeared to drive through a patch of standing water that caused him to spin and crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The accident exiting Turn 14 came on the lap after Hunter-Reay had moved to the provisional pole, and IndyCar penalized him by taking away his two fastest laps for causing a session-ending caution.
Camper World Trucks
K yle Busch dominates: In Kansas City, Kan., Kyle Busch dominated the caution-filled Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway on Friday night for his second victory in two starts this year.
Busch was in control for much of the 250-mile race Friday night, when it wasn’t slowed by repeated cautions. There were nine cautions on the 1.5-mile track, including one on the first lap that set the tone for a sluggish night.
Busch won from the pole in the No. 51 Toyota. He has 37 series victories in 117 starts, also winning the opener this year at Daytona.
The caution total was just shy of the track-record 12 set in 2008.
Matt Crafton was second, followed by Joey Logano, Austin Dillon and Tayler Malsam.