Under the old system of qualifying, Kevin Harvick would have never been considered a ‘great qualifier,’ he had just six poles in 13 NASCAR seasons. But this new knockout style of qualifying seems to suit Harvick, who won his third pole of the season on Friday and will lead the field to the green for Sunday’s race at Michigan.
“"I think that is just a credit on our Budweiser and Stewart-Haas race team for putting fast race cars on the track,” said Harvick, who also set a new track record with a fast lap of 204.5 mph. “When you put it together with the Hendrick Motorsports engine package it creates a lot of speed and it makes coming to these place a lot of fun. Really excited to start on the pole and get that first pit box and hopefully we can put the whole day together on Sunday."
Joining Harvick on the front row will be points leader Jeff Gordon, with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Aric Almirola and Paul Menard rounding out the top five.
Kansas native Clint Bowyer continues to kind of struggle with the knockout qualifying, failing to make it out of the second round at Michigan, he will start Sunday’s race 15th.
“They just got to drafting there at the end and we come up short,” said Bowyer. “To start 15th is fine -- I’ll take that. I think we’ll be just fine in the race on Sunday.”