Harvick claims Talladega pole

Image: Nigel Kinrade/LAT

Harvick claims Talladega pole

Monster Energy Cup

Harvick claims Talladega pole

Kevin Harvick will start from the pole in the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Harvick put down a lap of 194.448mph in the final round of single-car qualifying. It is Harvick’s second pole at Talladega and his first this season. It is the 22nd pole of his career.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver was on track when his teammate, Aric Almirola, spun in the first round. Because he drove through the debris field, NASCAR allowed Harvick to change his tires and finish his qualifying run. Harvick was fastest in both rounds of qualifying.

“It’s just a huge credit to the team and Roush Yates Engines and everybody who works on all the superspeedway stuff to make it what it is,” said Harvick. “We’ve made some huge improvements and obviously have the flannel Busch Beer program on board, ‘Busch guy’ here and everybody from Busch there to see the Busch pole award presented to their car is a lot of fun.

Kevin Harvick and his “Beer Flannel” pole award (Lesley Ann Miller/LAT)

“Exciting weekend for us, always fun to have things be achieved when the sponsors are activating and doing things, so it’s great. Hopefully, we can wind up in the same spot on Sunday.”

Second fastest in the first round, Kurt Busch was also second in the final round with a lap of 194.082mph. Martin Truex Jr. also backed up his performance in the first round and will start third after a lap of 193.525mph. Completing the top five were Denny Hamlin at 192.936mph and Chase Elliott at 192.754mph.

Rounding out the top 10 were Erik Jones (192.730mph), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (191.904mph), Clint Bowyer (191.723mph), Joey Logano (191.643mph), and Brad Keselowski (191.344mph). Stenhouse is the defending race winner.

Telling his No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing team his car had been slowing down during his run, Almirola finished his lap and then spun in Turn 1 after sparks and debris flew from the rear of the car.

Daniel Suarez clocked in 14th fastest in his backup car while Ryan Newman was 18th fastest, Jamie McMurray 27th and Ty Dillon 29th on the board. Because all four drivers pulled out their backup cars following a crash in final practice, they will start at the rear of the field Sunday afternoon.

Timothy Peters will start 32nd in his Cup Series debut with Ricky Benton Racing.

NEXT UP: The GEICO 500 at 2 p.m. ET Sunday.

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