The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rolls into Phoenix this weekend with a familiar face up-front. Kevin Harvick won the pole for Sunday’s CampingWorld.com 500. The driver of the No. 4 Chevrolet won last weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and has victories in four of the last six races at the Phoenix International Raceway, including the last three.
The Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet laid down a quick lap of 25.57 seconds or 140.751 mph which is a lap quicker than last year’s pole at the one-mile flat track. This is Harvick’s 15th career pole and his ninth since the beginning of last season.
“It’s exciting for everyone to be a part of this No. 4 team and everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing for everything that they have done… This is a pretty special place. All of these West-coast races are, but, this one in particular just because we used to bring our Southwest Tour cars here and struggled a little bit for quite some time and then it all clicked,” Harvick said after laying down his quick lap.
After being quickest in opening practice, Joey Logano qualified second for Sunday’s race. The Daytona 500 winner has qualified on the front row in each of the last three races in the desert.
“I just want to be first, second is the first loser and I wanted to be better than that,” Logano told FOX.
The defending pole winner, Brad Keselowski, will start the 500 kilometer race from the sixth starting position after barely making Round 3 of qualifying. Last year, the No. 2 team sat on the front row in both races at Phoenix.
Kurt Busch, who has missed the last three races after being suspended by NASCAR prior to the Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway, will start in the eighth position. NASCAR has stated that Busch can still make the Chase for the Sprint Cup if he wins and remains inside the top 30 in points by Richmond in September.
After winning Round One of qualifying, David Ragan ended up on the short-end of the stick in making the final round. He will start 13th as he continues to fill in for the injured Kyle Busch.
“We made good adjustments, but I probably got a little too greedy going into Turn 1 and got up in the grey stuff. That finished our lap,” Ragan said.
Jimmie Johnson had a disappointing qualifying run and will start 20th Sunday. The six-time champion is coming off of a DNF at Las Vegas where he crashed and finished in 41st. Although being virtually locked into the Chase, it will be crucial for Johnson to have a good run this weekend.
Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer failed to even make the top-24. Hamlin will start 25th on Sunday as Bowyer will start 30th.
“We should not have been that close to 25th. The FedEx Camry is way faster than the 25th position,” Hamlin told FOX after his disappointing lap.
The two drivers going home from this weekends event are the No. 66 of Tanner Berryhill and the No. 44 of Travis Kvapil. Berryhill was attempting to make his first career start in NASCAR’s top division.