Kevin Harvick claimed the Busch Pole Award at Pocono Raceway Saturday afternoon, leading the way in his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford with a 174.058 mph lap in 51.707 seconds.
It was his fourth pole of the season and his first at the 2-5-mile track. Harvick has 12 top fives and 17 top 10s at the “Tricky Triangle” but is still searching for that elusive Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Pocono.
The qualifying order is unofficial until the final inspection which will take place Sunday morning before the Gander RV 400.
Harvick is hoping to carry the momentum from his victory last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and capture his first Pocono checkered flag.
“It has been a really good track for me and my guys and really the whole company knows that we’d love to cross this one off – one of the last two of tracks that we haven’t won at,” Harvick said.
“it’s been a successful race track and the first race this year we had a great car and the right strategy and jacked it up and the steering box broke. It’s just kind of been one thing after another like that and tomorrow it’s gonna take a fast car, but it’s also gonna take everything falling your way so that you can get the strategy right. It’s restarts and pit strategy and all the normal Pocono things that you have to battle are still going to be the things you have to overcome.”
Current points leader Joey Logano will start on the outside pole after a qualifying lap at 173.377 mph followed by Aric Almirola in third (173.164 mph).
Almirola was happy with his lap but thought he could have done more.
“I might have left a little bit on the table, but I felt good about our lap,” he explained. “We made a lot of changes to our race car after practice. We weren’t really happy with our race car in final practice, so we made a lot of changes going into qualifying for the impound race procedure, so I wasn’t really sure what we were gonna have there and it kind of surprised me. I’m really happy with that. Our Smithfield Ford Mustang has got a lot of speed and now we’ve got to go race for 400 miles. Track position is really, really important here.”
Erik Jones (173.110 mph) will start fourth as Austin Dillon (172.659 mph) rounds out the top five.
“We have had good speed,” Jones said. “I thought with that lap we would have it. That’s kind of frustrating. We have a fast car and I thought we had a shot at the pole. It’s kind of frustrating, but we are starting up front, either way, so we will make a good day of it.”
Jimmie Johnson qualified sixth while defending race winner, Kyle Busch, will start sixth. William Byron, Kurt Busch and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top 10 qualifiers.
The Gander RV 400 is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday and will be broadcast live on NBCSN with radio coverage by MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
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