Freaky Fast, Again: Kevin Harvick Scores Oral-B USA 500 Pole at Atlanta

On the back bumper of Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet, it says ‘freaky fast’. Those words played true for the sixth time this year as Harvick scored his sixth pole of the season in qualifying for the Oral-B USA 500. Harvick would post a lap of 29.118 seconds for his 12th career pole, and his first at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“It’s good to have the boss back,” Harvick said, in referring to Tony Stewart’s return. “He told me to go with what I knew from practice and switched my line in one and two and was a lot better. Got to thank SHR for a good car today. Seems like things are back to normal with Tony back today so hopefully we can go out and get the W.”

Brad Keselowski will start alongside Harvick on the front row for his 20th top-10 start of the season as the pair are both looking for their fourth wins of the season.

“Just lacking a little bit,” Keselowski commented. “Really strong in race trim, thought we’d have a shot at qualifying. Another front row start – hopefully we can carry that into a front row finish, a first place finish, on Sunday night.”

Rookie Kyle Larson would qualify third for his eighth top-10 start of the season as he looks to either win, or gain 20 points on Greg Biffle, to get into the Chase for the Championship.

“I’d say our chances here are a little better than Richmond – more suits my driving style than Richmond,” Larson said. “Hoping to have a really good weekend here. Started off good so far in qualifying, third. Got to get a win or hope for bad luck for the 16 – but got to win.”

Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth would both round out the top-five, also looking for their first victories of the season.

“Just hanging on to it,” Newman commented. “The Caterpillar Chevrolet was on the bubble on the first run so just had to have the confidence to step it up. To come from 24th to fourth was a good pick-up for us.”

Martin Truex Jr. would qualify sixth, followed by Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne.

“Much better for our Farmer’s Insurance Chevrolet,” Kahne said, comparing his car to how he was in practice. “The guys did a good job – was way off in practice in 36th and the guys made the right adjustments. We were real pleased with the progress there so hopefully tomorrow we’ll hit on some things and head in the right direction.”

Carl Edwards will start 11th, followed by Tony Stewart as Stewart makes his return to the track for the first time since the incident with Kevin Ward Jr. earlier this month. Rookie Austin Dillon will start 13th, with Joey Logano in 14th as this marks the first qualifying session outside of a restrictor plate event that Logano has missed the final round. Jamie McMurray qualified 15th, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle, Brian Vickers and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Michael McDowell would be the only driver to fail to qualify.

Four drivers – Johnson, Earnhardt, Larson and Stewart – had issues getting through pre-qualifying session with relation to the rear camber of their cars.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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