‘Gnarly’ performance puts Kevin Harvick on Pocono pole

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Kevin Harvick has the word “gnarly” on the left rear quarter panel of his Ford Mustang – and it lived up to its nickname with a gnarly pole-winning performance for Sunday’s Gander RV 400 at Pocono Raceway.

One week after earning his first win of the season (last Sunday at New Hampshire), Harvick was not to be kept from taking the top spot during Saturday afternoon’s qualifying.

Harvick was the only driver over 174 mph, clocking a top speed of 174.058 mph.

We turned it into a gnarly situation,” Harvick told NBCSN. “We didn’t do a qualifying run because we were just scrambling a bit in race trim and trying to get our car right in race trim.

“Our teammates did some qualifying runs and we tried to match what they did and adapt and adjust from there. In the end, sometimes it’s just better to wing it. It was a good day today and hopefully we can keep it rolling tomorrow.”

This is Harvick’s fourth pole of the season and the 29th of his career in 667 NASCAR Cup starts.

In addition, this is Harvick’s 38th career Cup start at Pocono but his first pole there. He’s also never won at the 2.5-mile Tricky Triangle.

“It’s been a fun week getting the win off our back and hopefully a pole today,” Harvick said. All Cup cars were immediately impounded after the qualifying session and will go through post-qualifying inspection Sunday morning before the afternoon’s race.

Joey Logano briefly held the pole, but after Harvick’s run, had to settle for second-fastest (173.377 mph), followed by Aric Almirola (173.164 mph), Erik Jones (173.110) and Austin Dillon (172.659).

Sixth through 10th were Jimmie Johnson (172.586), Kyle Busch (172.427), William Byron (172.371), Kurt Busch (172.015) and Daniel Suarez (171.933) made it three of four Stewart-Haas drivers that qualified in the top-10.

Among those who struggled during qualifying was Kyle Larson, who wrecked his primary car in practice earlier in the day, forcing him to go to his backup ride. Larson qualified 29th at 168.634 mph.

There were nine cars that had their speeds disallowed Sunday morning by inspection failures.

Click here for the updated starting lineup by row after prerace inspection.

Click here for updated qualifying results after inspection.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Sioux Chief to sponsor ARCA Showdown, East Series to race at Nashville Fairgrounds

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ARCA announced Saturday that Sioux Chief Manufacturing will be the entitlement sponsor of its 10-race ARCA Menards Series Showdown in 2020.

Sioux Chief Manufacturing is a Missouri company that designs and manufactures rough plumbing products, parts, and accessories for residential, commercial, industrial and government applications

Sioux Chief has been involved in ARCA since 2015 as a race event sponsor and special awards program sponsor and sponsored ARCA’s former Short Track Challenge.

As part of the deal, a newly increased point fund, combined with race purses, owner plan, and contingency awards, will offer teams a chance to compete for a share of over $920,000 in posted awards throughout the series.

The Sioux Chief Showdown will bring together the best drivers from the ARCA Menards Series, the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West, formerly known as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Those events, held on oval tracks 1.25-miles in length and under and road courses, offer drivers who may not be able or eligible to run the full 20-race ARCA Menards Series schedule the opportunity to run for a championship. Combined with the overall ARCA Menards Series championship, and the East and West championships, drivers will have four separate championships to compete for in 2020.

The announcement was made at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis. Also present was promoter Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises, who announced that the ARCA Menards Series East would compete at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on May 2.

The Tennessean reported this week that the Nashville Fairgrounds was negotiating with Sargent to promote at least three races at the short track in 2020. Sargent’s involvement in the track comes after Nashville’s Fair Board voted to terminate its agreement with Formosa Productions to run the track over outstanding debt.

The ARCA Menards Series has competed at the Fairgrounds the last five seasons. The ARCA Menards Series East, formerly known as the K&N Pro Series East, competed there from 2007-08.

GMS Racing reveals full-time driver-crew chief lineup, number assignments

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GMS Racing has announced its full-time driver-crew chief lineup for the 2020 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season and number assignments for its trucks:

– Chad Norris has been named crew chief for Brett Moffitt and the No. 23 Chevrolet team. Moffitt drove the No. 24 in his first season with the team. Norris has been with GMS Racing for two years and directed the effort that delivered the team its 2018 Xfinity Series win at Talladega.

– Chad Walter will lead Tyler Ankrum and the No. 26 team. 2020 will be Ankrum’s first season with GMS Racing. Walter served as an engineer for Ankrum this season at DGR-Crosley. Walter has five wins and 42 top fives in 208 Xfinity Series starts as crew chief.

– Kevin “Bono” Manion is paired with Zane Smith on the No. 21 Chevrolet. 2020 will be Smith’s first full-time Trucks season after competing part-time for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. Manion has 24 wins as crew chief across all three national series since 2003. He led Martin Truex Jr. to his two Xfinity Series titles.

– Jeff Stankiewicz will remain as the crew chief for the No. 2 team piloted by Sheldon Creed.

Social Roundup: How NASCAR drivers are spending their offseason

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NASCAR’s Champion’s week is now behind us and we are firmly in the offseason.

Well, sort of.

The NASCAR world never really stops, which is evident simply due to the continued announcements for the 2020 season.

But with Joey Logano testing the Next Gen car at Phoenix earlier this week and Dale Earnhardt Jr. helping clean up North Wilkesboro Speedway for iRacing, it’s been anything but quiet.

Here’s a look at what else happened in the NASCAR community this week.

Someone needs to check in on Jimmie Johnson, he could be in his own version of Mr. Mom.

Chris Buescher is home again.

The 2015 Xfinity Series champion is back at Roush Fenway Racing for the 2020 Cup season and he’s got the firesuits and cars to prove it.

Brad Keselowski recently became father to a second daughter.

He’s now learning some important life lessons.

Former Front Row Motorsports driver Matt Tifft is now off the market after getting married to his fiance, Jordan. Now they’re on their honeymoon.

 

Matt DiBenedetto showed off one of the perks of being a Wood Brothers Racing employee.

Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace went somewhere warm to start their holiday.

Joey and Caitlin Gase welcome twin sons

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Xfinity Series driver Joey Gase and his wife Caitlin are now parents to twin boys

The babies were born on Wednesday. Their names are Jace and Carson.

More: Brad and Paige Keselowski welcome second daughter