Kevin Harvick Awarded Pole in Opening Chase Race at Chicago

For the third time this season, Sprint Cup Series qualifying was rained out, and the reigning, defending Cup champion, Kevin Harvick will lead the field to green on Sunday.

Severe storms cancelled Cup qualifying and starting positions 1-43 were based off of opening practice speeds from Friday. Harvick was quickest in the 90-minute session with a speed of 188.317 mph.

“Having the first pit stall and having good track position to start is important,” Harvick said after being awarded the pole.

This is the No. 4 cars second pole of the year, the other coming at Phoenix where Harvick dominated leading 224 out-of-the 312 scheduled laps. The Stewart-Haas Racing team has had one of the fastest cars this season, so it is a surprise that this is only the team’s second pole.

Alongside Harvick sits Joey Logano. Logano ran a speed of 187.911 mph in opening practice and it will be the 10th time this season that the No. 22 has sat on the front row. Team Penske comes into the Chase for the Sprint Cup has one of the hottest teams in the sport; Logano in particular has won two out-of-the last five races.

“We looked at the forecast and knew there was a good chance of rain," Logano said. "Anytime that happens, you focus in on qualifying trim a little more during practice.”

The other Team Penske driver and defending winner at Chicago, Brad Keselowski will start from the third position on Sunday. Fellow Chase members Martin Truex, Jr. Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon will start inside of the top 10.

A pair of four-time winners this season, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth will make up row six. Kenseth is coming off of a dominating performance at Richmond leading 352 of 400 laps and making a statement to his competition.

The rest of the Chase field will start from 13th (Jamie McMurray), 14th (Carl Edwards), 16th (Paul Menard), 19th (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) 26th (Clint Bowyer) and 29th (Denny Hamlin).

Ryan Blaney was ninth quickest in practice but due to not being in the top-35 in car owner points he was sent home as well as Michael McDowell and Travis Kvapil. 

Dustin Albino

Dustin is a 20-year-old, currently studying journalism at Ithaca College. Albino has always wanted to report on NASCAR and beginning at the end of 2014 that is exactly what he did with Speedway Digest. Since that time he has become well-known around the garage area and is looking to attend even more races than he did in 2015. 

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