DARLINGTON, S.C. — Kevin Harvick topped qualifying in all three rounds for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 in his No. 4 Busch Beer Throwback Ford winning his fourth Coors Light Pole Award this season with a speed of 177.730 mph. It’s his third pole at Darlington Raceway and his 21st career pole. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver also captured one win in 2014 after starting from the pole.
“It feels pretty good,” Harvick said after winning the pole, “It’s been a good start to the weekend for us and the car is driving good and we’re able to put three laps together. Everything is going well.”
When asked about the benefits of starting from the pole at Darlington, Harvick commented that “track position is never a disadvantage no matter if it’s high tire wear, low tire wear (track). The biggest advantage here is the first pit stall because the timing line is so close to the pit exit there with the first stall. So that’s really the biggest advantage. I think if your car is handling good, you can make your way through traffic, but having that first pit stall if your car is not handling good, it allows you to make up two or three spots if you have a decent pit stop and hopefully, keep that track position all night. That’s really the biggest advantage.”
Martin Truex Jr. will start on the outside pole in his No. 78 Toyota after qualifying with a speed of 177.077 mph
“That was definitely a good, successful qualifying session for us,” Truex said. “It – we thought we were off a little bit the first round then just kept working on the car and kind of adjusted the driving style a little throughout all three rounds and we ended up second. So seems like we’ve been second a lot this year and it’s been a good number for us and hopefully, it’ll be a good one tomorrow night.”
Kyle Busch will start third after a 176.682 mph lap.
Busch called his qualifying run, okay, saying, “You know, car felt really, really good first round, second round and then there just made the right adjustments – just the race track wasn’t quite what we expected it to be, so it was just a tick loose the last run and came home with a third, so we’ll take that and be happy with it and start up front.”
Kyle Larson will begin the race from fourth place in his Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.
“I got through Turn Three and Turn Four better (than previous runs) but I was still too loose to commit to wide-open throttle, which hurt my overall speed,” Larson commented. “It’s a lot better than I’ve ever qualified here, so hopefully that will give us a better pit stall selection for tomorrow’s race. This is a fun place, but it’s definitely tough.”
Jamie McMurray rounds out the top five in the No. 1 McDonalds Chevy.
McMurray said, “Qualifying was pretty eventful. It’s fun here to qualify and it’s maybe one of the funnier qualifying sessions we get to run with the exception of maybe a road course just because the corners are so different and so fast there is not a lot of grip. But, yeah, we were I think like third, fourth and fifth, we were kind of the same in all three sessions. The car was good though. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I thought we were good in race trim.”
Harvick will lead the field to green Sunday at 6 p.m. ET for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 on NBCSN. Radio coverage can be heard on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
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