Harvick Bristol Pole Winner
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on August 22, 2014 | 6:35 P.M. EST
Harvick won the pole with a lap of 131.362 mph that bettered Denny Hamlin’s pole lap in the spring. (Photo: Getty Images)
BRISTOL, Tenn. - Kevin Harvick scored his series-high fifth pole of the season Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Harvick won the pole with a track-record lap of 131.362 mph that bettered Denny Hamlin’s pole lap in the spring. Points leader Jeff Gordon starts second with Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano completing the top five.
“Track position is definitely as important as it is anywhere here with the current groove and where you are running,’’ Harvick said, referring to the groove being at the top of the track. “I felt good about our car during practice and just have to stay in there all night and do the best we can.”
Gordon scores a front-row starting spot after winning last weekend’s race at Michigan. Could he make it two wins in a row?
“I thought our car was a little bit better in race trim than it was in qualifying trim when we swapped over,’’ Gordon said. “Tricky conditions, very tricky conditions when you’re running up top and putting your car on the edge of that rubber. You don’t want to jump over it. We saw it happen to a couple of guys. I think the track fooled a lot of guys.’’
It didn’t fool Edwards, who won at this track in March.
“The track has a lot of grip and the cars are extremely fast,’’ Edwards said. “It was really a pretty fun lap.’’
Jimmie Johnson qualified sixth and is followed by Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Brad Keselowski and Marcos Ambrose.
“I thought we might have had a shot at the pole, but we just never got it dialed in right and maybe I made some mistakes too, one of the two, or both,’’ Keselowski said. “But in race trim we got it pretty decent here towards the end of practice, and I feel like we’ve got a shot at it.”
Kyle Larson clipped the wall with his right rear and left front early in the first round and failed to qualify. He will start a season-worst 40th.
Aric Almirola and Cole Whitt also made contact with the wall in the first round. Almirola will go to a backup car and start at the rear of the field. Whitt will start 34th.
“I screwed up and that’s all there is to it,’’ Almirola said. “We have probably the best race car I’ve ever had at Bristol and I screwed up and hit the fence.”