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Kevin Harvick’s pretty happy after being fastest in final Sprint Cup practice at Phoenix

Mar 1, 2014, 3:02 PM EST

Kevin Harvick AP

Happy was happiest in Happy Hour Saturday afternoon at Phoenix International Raceway.

Kevin Harvick, whose nickname is “Happy,” was the fastest driver in Saturday’s final practice for Sunday’s The Profit at CNBC 500.

In 29 laps around the one-mile flat track at PIR, Harvick recorded a fast lap of 136.960 mph (at 26.285 seconds) to pace the field in the one-hour session.

It was a good tune-up for Harvick, who will start Sunday’s race on the inside of the seventh row. Harvick has been one of the most successful drivers at PIR during his career. In 22 starts, Harvick has four Sprint Cup wins, seven top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.

Rookie Kyle Larson was second-fastest at 136.596 mph, followed by Ryan Newman (136.508), Kurt Busch (136.503) and Jeff Gordon (136.374).

Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. was sixth fastest (136.338), followed by seventh through 10th fastest Jamie McMurray (136.302), Joey Logano (136.297), Brian Vickers (136.250) and Carl Edwards (136.235). Edwards is the defending winner of Sunday’s race.

Perhaps wanting to save his car for Sunday’s race, not to mention he’ll be without crew chief Paul Wolfe (flew back to North Carolina early Saturday to be with his wife for the birth of the couple’s first child), pole-sitter Brad Keselowski‘s fastest lap was 20th on the grid (135.905).

Joe Nemechek (133.146) and Reed Sorensen (131.492) were the slowest drivers in the session.

Only 41 of the 43 cars qualified for Sunday’s race took part in Saturday’s final practice. Sitting out were Blake Koch and 72-year-old Morgan Shepherd.

Drivers who failed to qualify for Sunday’s race were Landon Cassill, Dave Blaney and Josh Wise.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

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