Red-hot Kevin Harvick burns up Phoenix International Raceway with first career pole there

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The red-hot Happy Harvick Freaky Fast Express rolls on.

Kevin Harvick, who has won the last three races and four of the last five at Phoenix International Raceway, continued his dominance there Friday by capturing the pole position for Sunday’s CampingWorld.com 500 Sprint Cup race.

Harvick, who has six career wins at PIR, earned his first career pole at the one-mile flat track with a speed of 140.751 mph.

Over his last six Sprint Cup starts, including the last three races of 2014, the defending Sprint Cup champion has three wins and three runner-up finishes. He’s going for a second straight win Sunday, having won last Sunday at Las Vegas.

“Everything can always be better, but I think everyone’s doing a great job and continuing to get better as we go from week to week, and never sitting on what you did last week, and always communicating on the little things and what you can do better,” Harvick said. “I’m just fortunate to be a part of this team and what they do.”

Joey Logano was second fastest in Friday’s qualifying (140.543), followed by Jamie McMurray (140.422), Matt Kenseth (140.072) and Ryan Newman (139.833).

“That’s three straight front row starts, so we’re proud of that,” Logano said. “We still have only one pole, which we’re not proud of. We need to find more speed there, but obviously it’s a good starting spot. … We’re going to race hard and try to win this thing.”

Kurt Busch, who is making his first start of the season after being suspended by NASCAR for the first three races, qualified eighth.

“It was fun to get back out there and feel the car in the three sessions out there,” Busch said. “Overall, it was just a pleasant day, overwhelming support from the team and the garage area. ‘Glad you’re back’ is what I hear a lot of, and I’m thankful to be back and to have this competitive car that I can put in the top 10 on the first day out.”

Also of note, the No. 83 car of Matt DiBenedetto was the only car to fail pre-qualifying inspection more than two times.

As a result, DiBenedetto will be penalized 15 minutes of practice time, which will be assessed during the first practice session next week at Auto Club Speedway. The penalty is the result of new rules set forth by NASCAR this week.


Qualifying results for the CampingWorld.com 500:

1. Kevin Harvick … 140.751 mph
2. Joey Logano … 140.543
3. Jamie McMurray … 140.422
4. Matt Kenseth … 140.072
5. Ryan Newman … 139.833
6. Brad Keselowski … 139.817
7. Carl Edwards … 139.779
8. Kurt Busch … 139.665
9. Kasey Kahne … 139.643
10. Jeff Gordon … 139.535
11. Austin Dillon … 138.969
12. Kyle Larson … 138.755
13. David Ragan … 139.157
14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. … 139.141
15. Martin Truex Jr. … 138.884
16. Dale Earnhardt Jr. … 138.814
17. Tony Stewart … 138.718
18. Brian Vickers … 138.654
19. Greg Biffle … 138.515
20. Jimmie Johnson … 138.483
21. Paul Menard … 138.478
22. AJ Allmendinger … 138.430
23. Danica Patrick … 138.297
24. Casey Mears … 137.862
25. Denny Hamlin … 137.562
26. Alex Bowman … 137.363
27. Sam Hornish Jr. … 137.211
28. Justin Allgaier … 136.674
29. David Gilliland … 136.586
30. Clint Bowyer … 136.550
31. Michael Annett … 136.467
32. Aric Almirola … 136.405
33. Landon Cassill … 136.266
34. Josh Wise … 136.245
35. Matt DiBenedetto … 135.834
36. Trevor Bayne … 135.675
37. Mike Bliss … Owner Points
38. Brett Moffitt … Owner Points
39. Cole Whitt … Owner Points
40. JJ Yeley … Owner Points
41. Jeb Burton … Owner Points
42. Brendan Gaughan … Owner Points
43. Alex Kennedy … Owner Points

Did not qualify: Tanner Berryhill and Travis Kvapil.

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