Apr 5, 2014, 4:52 PM EST
Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday became the fastest 1.5-mile track for pole qualifying in Sprint Cup history, and Kevin Harvick was the man who did it.
But Harvick will not start on the pole in Sunday’s Duck Commander 500. Instead, his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate and boss, Tony Stewart, will take the green flag first.
Harvick set his mark of 198.282 mph in the first round of qualifying, but was unable to come close to posting a comparable speed in the second (24 cars) or final 12-round session.
Still, Harvick ultimately qualified third in the final round of knockout competition and will start right behind Stewart, who recorded his first Sprint Cup pole since Sept. 2012 and his 15th career pole overall.
“This thing was fast every round,” Stewart said. “I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to hold on. It felt really fast up to (turns) three and four and then it got really loose the last half of the corner. This Chevy was fast today.”
This marks the first time there have been seven different pole qualifiers in as many races to start a season since 1998, according to NASCAR statisticians.
Even though it didn’t get the pole, Ford dominated in the final round of qualifying, putting six drivers in the top 10 starting positions.
With Stewart on the pole at 195.454 mph, the rest of the top 10 starters are: Brad Keselowski (195.397), Harvick (195.312), Greg Biffle (194.700), Carl Edwards (194.637), Denny Hamlin (194.623), Trevor Bayne (194.503), Ryan Newman (194.140), Marcos Ambrose (194.063) and Joey Logano (193.743).
Last week’s race winner at Martinsville, Kurt Busch, was fastest in morning practice but qualified 11th (193.126), still giving SHR three drivers in the top 11.
Of note, Jimmie Johnson failed to qualify for the final knockout round of 12, making it the first time this season that he hasn’t reached that round. Johnson will start 16th (194.007).
Logano remains as the only driver who has made the final round of qualifying in each of the first seven races thus far.
Sprint Cup points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 19th (193.354).
Austin Dillon was battling flu-like symptoms Saturday, but still made his qualifying run, ending up 20th (193.154). Younger brother Ty took a handful of laps during Saturday morning’s practice and is on standby if needed for his sibling in Sunday’s race.
Also, there were no mishaps in qualifying, just like Saturday’s mishap-free happy hour practice.
Harvick’s 198.282 mph blast around TMS in the opening round of the three-round qualifying session put him nearly a full one second fastest than the previous fastest 1.5-mile pole qualifying speed (197.478 mph by Geoff Bodine, Atlanta, Nov. 1997).
The next fastest pole speed for a 1.5-mile track is Denny Hamlin at Charlotte in May 2013 (195.624), followed by Joey Logano at Las Vegas last month (193.278) and Matt Kenseth at Kansas (191.864 in April 2013).
Follow me @JerryBonkowski
Here’s the starting grid for Sunday’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway
Tony Stewart 195.454 mph, Brad Keselowski 195.419
Kevin Harvick 195.298, Greg Biffle 194.700
Carl Edwards 194.637, Denny Hamlin 194.623
Trevor Bayne 194.503, Ryan Newman 194.140
Marcos Ambrose 194.056, Joey Logano 193.743
Kurt Busch 193.126, Jeff Gordon 192.089
Jamie McMurray 194.021, Jimmie Johnson 194.007
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 193.354, Austin Dillon 193.154
Clint Bowyer 194.988, Matt Kenseth 194.637
David Gillland 191.625, Landon Cassill 191.408
David Ragan 187.839
Mar 5, 2015, 6:44 PM EST
“The Giz” heads to V8SC’s biggest team in a three-year deal as the team’s third car.
Mar 5, 2015, 6:13 PM EST
“RHR 2.0″ enters world on March 5, 2015.
Mar 5, 2015, 5:23 PM EST
“SK$” turns 20. S
Mar 5, 2015, 5:00 PM EST
JEV wants to clinch Andretti a home win when Formula E hits U.S. shores in Miami later this month.
Mar 5, 2015, 4:00 PM EST
All of the latest news from some of F1’s most prominent junior championships.
Mar 5, 2015, 3:00 PM EST
Filipino-Swiss driver moves from Formula Renault 3.5 for 2015.
Mar 5, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
British driver sends out an ominous statement of intent ahead of the first race of the year in Australia on March 15.
Mar 5, 2015, 1:00 PM EST
Can Massa and Bottas pick up where they left off at the end of 2014?
Mar 5, 2015, 12:07 PM EST
Team now all set to race in Australia on March 15 after passing the FIA crash tests.
Mar 5, 2015, 12:00 PM EST
Add another American to the Formula E roster for 2015 as Speed replaces Marco Andretti for the first of two home races.
Mar 5, 2015, 10:30 AM EST
Dutch driver reportedly seeking an urgent court order that would get him on the grid for the upcoming Australian Grand Prix.
Mar 5, 2015, 10:00 AM EST
Big night of F1 programming upcoming tonight on NBCSN.
Mar 5, 2015, 9:30 AM EST
With neither Hockenheim nor the Nurburgring prepared to host the race in 2015, the outlook is bleak for a German Grand Prix.
Mar 5, 2015, 9:00 AM EST
New sponsor, new number (again) for Hinchcliffe’s 2015 IndyCar campaign.
Mar 4, 2015, 5:14 PM EST
Honda hints at more about its aero kits, while tossing out two dates of note.
Mar 4, 2015, 5:00 PM EST
Look through the Pirelli World Challenge field continues with a look at GTS.
Mar 4, 2015, 3:00 PM EST
Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat look to lead the team in the post-Vettel era.
Mar 4, 2015, 12:40 PM EST
Justin Wilson returns to Michael Shank Racing for Sebring one-off.
Mar 4, 2015, 12:09 PM EST
Manor Marussia F1 to make trip to Melbourne after all.
Mar 4, 2015, 10:15 AM EST
FIA Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag outlines goals for upcoming two U.S. races, and recaps the first four thus far.
- Manor passes final crash tests ahead of Australian GP 1
- WATCH: Mercedes F1: Road to Repeat at 8 p.m. ET highlights F1 block on NBCSN 0
- Manor Marussia F1 confirms trip to Melbourne 3
- Agag: Formula E off to “incredible start” heading into U.S. swing 2
- Fernando Alonso ruled out of Australian Grand Prix 3
- Mercedes F1: Race to Repeat: Teaser clips and preview (VIDEO) 0
- F1, IndyCar seasons finally premiere in 2015’s version of March madness 1