A speed of 190.398 mph gave Harvick his 18th Cup pole and his second at Atlanta in four seasons. Harvick is looking for his first win at Atlanta since 2001, when he claimed his first Cup win in his third start.
“That was by far the best of the three laps and we saved it perfectly for the end,” Harvick told Fox Sports 1.
It’s the first pole for Stewart-Haas Racing since it moved to Ford from Chevrolet and comes after Kurt Busch won the Daytona 500.
“This is just a huge credit to everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing,” Harvick said. “For the last few weeks we’ve been in the simulator, we’ve been in the shop. These guys have been in and out of the wind tunnel, they’ve cut bodies off. It’s hard to explain how big of a transition this has been for the whole company.”
Newman, who will start second, missed out on his first pole since 2013 and the chance to pass Buddy Baker for the most poles at Atlanta. Both are tied with seven.
“I really wanted to beat my ‘ol buddy, Buddy Baker’s record there, I’ve been tied with him for a while so that was kind of rough,” Newman told FS1. “This is the litmus test for us for a lot of the rest of the season and it was a good start for sure.”
Kurt Busch will start 13th in his first race since winning the Daytona 500.
David Ragan‘s No. 38 suffered significant right rear damage in round one after he got loose and made contact with the wall exiting Turn 2. He will start 34th.