The only drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to have two wins thus far this season — Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano – will start from the front row in Saturday’s Five-Hour Energy 400 Benefiting the Special Operations Warrior Foundation at Kansas Speedway.
Harvick once again lived up to his “Freaky Fast” nickname, taking his second pole of the season in his Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet with a top speed of 194.252 mph, a new track record. It was also Harvick’s second career pole at Kansas.
“My qualifying record hasn’t been great, but they’ve really done a good job in getting our qualifying stuff situated after the first four or five weeks of the season,” Harvick said of his No. 4 SHR crew. “To come here and sit on the pole, I thought I had screwed it up. I never got through (turns) 3 and 4 how I wanted to. I felt like I got through 1 and 2 all three laps pretty good, but 3 and 4 was a little bit too tight. I got a little bit concerned, but all-in-all, it worked out okay.”
Harvick and all three of his other Stewart Haas Racing teammates qualified within the top nine spots.
Logano wasn’t far behind Harvick, as his Team Penske Ford also broke the old track mark at 193.910 mph, part of a three-driver Ford juggernaut from second- to fourth-place.
“We got a lot of second-place qualifying efforts, which I mean isn’t the end of the world,” Logano said. “It’s just I really like winning and second kinda blows. But overall, we have a real good starting spot, we can see the track from there and we’ll go for it.”
Logano’s Team Penske teammate, Brad Keselowski, qualified third (193.507 mph), followed by Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards (193.188).
Rookie Kyle Larson (193.050) will start fifth, followed by Kurt Busch (sixth, 193.043), Ryan Newman (seventh, 192.816), Tony Stewart (eighth, 192.548), Danica Patrick (ninth, 192.452) and Greg Biffle (10th, 191.980).
Also of note in the qualifying session:
* Rookie Ryan Blaney, making his first attempt to qualify for a Sprint Cup race, made the field in 21st place.
* Sprint Cup points leader Jeff Gordon will start 13th, alongside Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson in 14th.
* Kansas native Clint Bowyer, still seeking his first career win on his “home track,” qualified a disappointing 23rd.
* While proud that his son made the field, sadly, dad Dave Blaney was the odd man out, the only driver to fail to make the 43-driver field for Saturday’s race.
Here’s the unofficial starting grid for Saturday’s 5-Hour Energy 400 at Kansas Speedway:
Row 1 Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano
Row 2 Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards
Row 3 Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch
Row 4 Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart
Row 5 Danica Patrick, Greg Biffle
Row 6 Jamie McMurray, Aric Almirola
Row 7 Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson
Row 8 Brian Vickers, Paul Menard
Row 9 Kasey Kahne, Justin Allgaier
Row 10 Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Row 11 Ryan Blaney, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Row 12 Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch
Row 13 Marcos Ambrose, Martin Truex Jr.
Row 14 Casey Mears, Matt Kenseth
Row 15 AJ Allmendinger, Denny Hamlin
Row 16 Ryan Truex, Josh Wise
Row 17 Alex Bowman, Michael Annett
Row 18 J.J. Yeley, Cole Whitt
Row 19 Reed Sorenson, David Ragan
Row 20 David Gilliland, Landon Cassill
Row 21 Travis Kvapil, Timmy Hill
Row 22 Joe Nemecheck
Failed to qualify: Dave Blaney
Follow me @JerryBonkowski