CONCORD, N.C. — Kevin Harvick will start on the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 after posting a top speed of 193.424 mph.
It is the 20th Cup pole of Harvick’s career and his third of this season. That is the second most for Harvick in a season following the eight he earned during his 2014 championship season.
“It was definitely breathtaking all three laps because it was so edgy to drive,” Harvick told Fox Sports 1. “All in all, I guess they say loose is fast. Just proud of my guys and that’s a good start to a long night.”
All three of Harvick’s poles have come at 1.5-mile tracks. At Atlanta, he led 292 laps and finished ninth after a pit penalty. At Texas, he led 77 laps and finished fourth.
Harvick also had the pole for last October’s race at Charlotte.
Busch’s start is his best of the season. His previous best was third at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Erik Jones, a rookie, will also make his best start. His previous best was eighth at Phoenix Raceway.
In his final Coke 600 start, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 19th
Teams continued to struggle with pre-qualifying inspection, but only two, points leader Kyle Larson and Corey LaJoie, were not able to make a qualifying attempt. Larson and his team scrambled to get the No. 42 Chevrolet on track in the final minute of the first round but it ended before Larson could make it.
“I guess it’ll be cooler to win from last than from the pole,” Larson told Fox Sports 1. Larson said he was more upset with himself for having made contact with the wall in Thursday’s practice session.
“It put us behind on getting to the tech line,” Larson said. “The machine wouldn’t work there late and probably cost us a minute, a minute and a half. Then we passed and we just didn’t have enough time to get out there.”
NASCAR told FS1 the laser inspection station was working properly, but that Larson’s team had improperly positioned his car, resulting in the delay in measurement.
“I won’t speak too much on it because I don’t know much about how that whole tech process works,” Larson said. “I know all the teams hate it. The teams point at NASCAR. NASCAR points at the teams. It’s confusing to me.”
But Larson isn’t concerned about having to start on the last row.
“It happened to us at Texas and we rebounded from that and finished second,” Larson said. “I’m not too worried about it. I know the teams are frustrated with the tech process. I know nothing about how it all works. I don’t really have much to say about it other than I know my crew chief hates it.”