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.
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.