The four Stewart-Haas Ford Mustangs swept the top four spots in single-car qualifying at Kansas Speedway Friday night, with Kevin Harvick (photo above) leading the quartet and grabbing his third pole of the season.
Harvick, who won at Kansas from the pole last year, clocked in at 179.217 mph (30.131s) for his fifth pole at the 1.5-mile facility and the 28th of his career.
“The car told me it was fast,” said Harvick. “I really want to thank everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing and Roush Yates Engines because the mile-and-a-half racetracks have been quite a handful for us as we’ve gone through the beginning of the season. From new cars and different engines and different headers and body builds and new simfiles and aero maps — you name it — this is the next step, and they’ve done a great job.
“Everybody knew we were a little behind,” Harvick continued. “We saw some light at Texas but everybody’s done a great job. Our Busch Beer Ford is really fast today, it drives well in traffic and, hopefully, when it gets dark tomorrow night, we can have another good night in Kansas.”
Harvick will be joined on the front row SHR teammate Aric Almirola, who ran a lap of 178.725 mph. The effort is Almirola’s fourth front row starting spot of the season.
Row two will be made up of SHR drivers Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez, Bowyer running a fast lap of 178.324 mph while Suarez clocked in at 178.247 mph.
Chase Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro) completed the top five at 177.954 mph. Elliott won the fall race at Kansas.
Rounding out the top 10 were Martin Truex Jr. (177.357 mph), William Byron (177.148 mph), Kyle Larson (176.875 mph), Brad Keselowski (176.817 mph), and Alex Bowman (176.603 mph).
“Yeah, that is a positive, but you show up here in qualifying and you want to be first,” Almirola said of being on the front row again. “We’re all competitors. But, wow — Stewart-Haas Racing. We’ve worked really hard. We feel like we’ve been a little bit behind playing catch-up, and I’m really proud of the effort of everybody back at the shop. I know they’ve been working a lot of hours and it’s paying off. We’ve got four really fast Ford Mustangs here, and proud to have all four of us running up front.”
Darrell Wallace Jr. earned his second-best qualifying effort of the season by clocking in at 12th quick. Wallace ran 176.592 mph and out qualified Kyle Busch, who will start 13th at 176.551 mph.
Fastest in final practice, Kurt Busch will start 14th. The Busch brothers ran identical lap times at 30.586 seconds.
Outside the top 15 were Denny Hamlin (17th), Jimmie Johnson (18th), Ryan Blaney (19th), and Joey Logano (20th). Tyler Reddick will start from the 30th position in his second career Cup Series start.
Reed Sorenson was the only driver to not attempt a qualifying lap.
UP NEXT: Digital Ally 400 at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday.