Kevin Harvick wins pole at Las Vegas in wild final round

This may be one of the more unusual poles of Kevin Harvick’s NASCAR career.

Kevin Harvick wins pole at Las Vegas in wild final round
Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Jimmy John's
Pole sitter Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Busch Beer
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Ground

Harvick emerged as the pole-winner for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott who actually went faster, failed to cross the line before the five-minute clock expired.

Harvick’a average lap speed of 180.517 mph ended up topping Denny Hamlin (180.457 mph). They were the only two drivers to cross the 180 mph barrier in a session where all 12 of the final drivers waited until the final 90 seconds to attempt a run.

Kyle Busch ended up third, Austin Dillon fourth and Daniel Hemric fifth.

The pole is Harvick’s first of the season and 26th of his career.

“The fastest car in qualifying trim is fourth (Dillon). I told them before we qualified today that the fastest car would not get the pole today,” Harvick said. “In the final round it was going to come down to where you were at.

“It’s definitely different. It’s one of those situations where you don’t really know where you need to be. I had never drafted, really, in these cars. They are a lot faster than they were in the All-Star Race (last year) and the close up rate was so fast.

“We were able to run the bottom coming to the start of the second lap and that got us to the start/finish line in time to make it (count). Definitely a little bit of luck involved there but the guys have done a great job, really advancing in the last two weeks in getting what we need in these race cars.”

Rounding out the Top 12 will be David Ragan, Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Bowman and Elliott.

Round 2

Harvick bolted to top of speed chart in the second round.

His top average speed of 181.123 mph just edged Austin Dillon (181.111 mph). Larson was third (180.427 mph). Bowman and Stenhouse completed the top-five.

Also advancing to the final round were Kyle Busch, Johnson, Ragan, Elliott, Hamlin, Logano and Hemric.

Among those who failed to advance were Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Erik Jones, Brad Keselowski, William Byron, Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon and Martin Truex Jr.

“I think some of this will apply to Sunday, but I really don’t know,” Keselowski said. “I just want to go fast.”

Said Ty Dillon: “I don’t know if any of us knew what to do.”

Blaney was also not happy with how the session unfolded. “I used to have fun on Fridays and that wasn’t fun,” he said.

Round 1

Austin Dillon, who was fastest in Friday’s practice, continued his show of speed in the first round of knockout qualifying.

Dillon led the way with an average lap speed of 179.964 mph in the 10-minute session.

Larson ended up second (179.820 mph) and Stenhouse was (179.712 mph) third. Logano was fourth and Hemric fifth.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Blaney, Bowman, Hamlin, Jones and Ty Dillon.

Several drivers attempted to draft during the session to pick up speed. Results were varied as Austin Dillon’s top speed came from a single-car run.

Among those who failed to advance to Round 2 were Aric Almirola, Matt DiBenedetto, Chris Buescher, Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch.

“My politically correct answer is that was interesting,” DiBenedetto said of the drafting during the round. “It reminds me of when we tried group qualifying on the superspeedways.”

Read Also:

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Time Gap Mph
1 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 29.914   180.517
2 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 29.924 0.010 180.457
3 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 30.049 0.135 179.706
4 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 30.082 0.168 179.509
5 8 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 30.087 0.173 179.480
6 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 30.092 0.178 179.450
7 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 30.131 0.217 179.217
8 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 30.234 0.320 178.607
9 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 30.255 0.341 178.483
10 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 30.356 0.442 177.889
11 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 30.504 0.590 177.026
12 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 30.533 0.619 176.858
13 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 30.055 0.141 179.671
14 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 30.061 0.147 179.635
15 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 30.071 0.157 179.575
16 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 30.082 0.168 179.509
17 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 30.096 0.182 179.426
18 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 30.101 0.187 179.396
19 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 30.132 0.218 179.211
20 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 30.163 0.249 179.027
21 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 30.168 0.254 178.998
22 41 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Ford 30.169 0.255 178.992
23 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 30.174 0.260 178.962
24 47 United States Ryan Preece  Chevrolet 30.344 0.430 177.959
25 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 30.283 0.369 178.318
26 95 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Toyota 30.296 0.382 178.241
27 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 30.300 0.386 178.218
28 1 United States Kurt Busch  Chevrolet 30.310 0.396 178.159
29 6 United States Ryan Newman  Ford 30.329 0.415 178.047
30 32 United States Corey Lajoie  Ford 30.458 0.544 177.293
31 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 30.626 0.712 176.321
32 96 United States Parker Kligerman  Toyota 30.640 0.726 176.240
33 51 Cody Ware  Chevrolet 31.324 1.410 172.392
34 52 United States B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 31.820 1.906 169.705
35 36 United States Matt Tifft  Ford 32.450 2.536 166.410
36 66 United States Joey Gase  Toyota 33.864 3.950 159.461
37 77 United States Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet      
38 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet    
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Series NASCAR Cup
Event Las Vegas
Author Jim Utter
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