Clint Bowyer scored his first pole since 2007 when he led a Stewart-Haas Racing sweep of the first four spots in qualifying for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Bowyer, who enters the first race of the playoffs as the 15th seed, claimed his third career Cup Series pole with a speed of 178.926 mph.
“I asked the guys, what the hell did you? How did you accomplish this with me,” Bowyer joked about going 431 races between pole positions.
“Tomorrow’s a whole new day. The thing’s got to turn left at the end of the straightaway tomorrow and it has to do it for a long time, unlike just one lap today…Just timing is everything and we had some good fortune.”
Daniel Suarez, Kevin Harvick (playoff) and Aric Almirola (playoff) took the next four spots, respectively, to give SHR its second time qualifying 1-4 in the Cup Series.
“I kind of blew it right there, I got sideways accelerating coming off pit road,” Harvick said of his qualifying effort. “Our guys have done a good job, we have done a good job helping the handling and not knocking the speed out of them.”
Kurt Busch (playoff) rounded out the top five.
Daniel Hemric, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott (playoff), Jimmie Johnson and Michael McDowell completed the first 10 qualifiers.
Other Playoff drivers in Sunday’s starting lineup include Denny Hamlin (13th), William Byron (14th), Kyle Larson (15th), Ryan Newman (17th), Brad Keselowski (18th), Alex Bowman (19th), Kyle Busch (20th), Joey Logano (22nd), Ryan Blaney (23rd), Martin Truex Jr. (24th) and Erik Jones (26th).
“That was not very fast,” Logano said. “We were set up to handle and obviously, it is pretty obvious when you look at the rundown of who has speed and who is dialed for handling. If the Stewart-Haas cars have both we are all in trouble. It is a trade-off when you come to these places. It is really hard to have both.”
Sunday’s South Point 400 is the first race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and slated to take the green flag just after 7 p.m. ET.