Harvick Smashes Track Record
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin Twitter and Instagram | MRN.com on June 13, 2014 | 4:35 P.M. EST
Harvick was joined by his son Keelan in the post-qualifying press conference at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
BROOKLYN, Mich. – Kevin Harvick set a new Michigan International Speedway track record of 204.557 mph on his way to winning the pole for Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400.
Harvick’s mark shattered the previous MIS mark of 203.949 mph set by Joey Logano last August.
“I think that is just a credit on our Budweiser and Stewart-Haas race team for putting fast race cars on the track,” Harvick said. “When you put it together with the Hendrick Motorsports engine package it creates a lot of speed and it makes coming to these place a lot of fun. Really excited to start on the pole and get that first pit box and hopefully we can put the whole day together on Sunday.”
It was the fastest qualifying lap turned in the series since Bill Elliott’s run of 212.809 mph at Talladega Superspeedway in 1987. Harvick holds the record of the fastest lap ever recorded at a non-restrictor plate track.
It was the Stewart-Haas Racing driver’s third pole of the 2014 Sprint Cup Series season and ninth of his career.
“You just have to relax and really pay attention to not overdrive it because it’s so easy to miss your line on the entry to the corner,” Harvick said of his qualifying approach Friday. “So, I’ve just got to thank everybody on my Budweiser Chevrolet; and everybody from the Hendrick Motorsports engine shop. You put those two packages together and it creates a lot of speed.
“My guys are doing a great job and we just have to keep doing everything we’ve been doing, and we have fast race cars.”
Jeff Gordon will start outside the front row after his lap of 203.776 mph.
"We put up a heck of a lap … just not enough to get Harvick,” said Gordon. “Those are just really, really tough."
Last week’s Pocono winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified fourth with Aric Almirola and Paul Menard rounding out the top five.
Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano and Brian Vickers completed the first ten qualifiers.
Harvick was the fastest in all three sessions Friday during the first time NASCAR’s new qualifying system was used at Michigan.
Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch, who were involved in a controversial accident last week in Pocono, will start 13th and 14th, respectively.
Ryan Truex failed to qualify for Sunday’s race.
Sprint Cup Series teams will have a pair of practice sessions on Saturday to dial their cars in for Sunday’s 15th race of the season.
Motor Racing Network – "The Voice of NASCAR" – will have live coverage of the Sprint Cup Series from Michigan International Speedway. Air time for Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 is 12 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MRN.com.