Kevin Harvick won his first pole at the Darlington raceway on Friday, but Joey Logano continues to be the story of the new knock-out qualifying procedure in NASCAR this season. The 22 car is the only team to make all seven of the final rounds under the new rules. Logano will start second Saturday night.
“That is probably the most fun you will have all weekend. It gets tougher for the race,” said Logano. “Overall it keeps us as the only car that has gotten through every session this year and I am proud of that still."
The pole sitter Harvick put up a top speed of 183.479 mph. It’s his first pole under the new qualifying rules. He credits his crew chief and spotter for finding the right line around the track to make him faster.
“We moved up and picked up in the second one felt like I didn’t roll through there fast enough and in the last one felt like I rolled through there pretty good,” said Harvick. “It all worked out. Knockout qualifying paid off for us today. We were able to save the best for last."
Three Fords round out the top five in Aric Almirola, Marcos Ambrose, and Brad Keselowski.
Kansas native Clint Bowyer continues to be hot and cold in the knock-outs. He missed the cut for the final round of qualifying and will start 16th on Saturday night.
“Our 5-hour ENERGY Toyota was a little too tight during qualifying,” said Bowyer. “However, we have a really good car in race trim. We have been really fast the last three weeks and I think we will be good again tomorrow night.”