CP MOTORSPORTS - HARVICK TAKES PHOENIX POLE POSITION
Kevin Harvick continues to show the strength of both himself and his team by capturing his first career pole at Phoenix Int'l Raceway.
Joey Logana was second quickest, followed by Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski,Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson.
Harvick gave credit to his team for puttinga car under help capable of being the best on the track during qualifying.
“Just really proud of everybody on my team,” stated Harvick. “ I know you guys hear me talk about them all the time, but they just keep grinding away and doing things that it takes to keep making the cars progress and faster. Just really proud of them. Obviously anything we can do here at Phoenix is fun for me because it’s just a special place for me. You already know everything I told you this morning. Anytime we come here and can accomplish something I’m really excited about it.”
Harvick's accomplishments at Phoenix Int'l Speedway as a driver looking to climb the ladder in NASCAR got him noticied by Richard Childress Racing and the rest is history.
Qualifying is still qualifying. The days when drivers could learn something dramatic for use during the race are almost gone, at least at the Sprint Cup Series level.
When asked if there was anything he learned Harvick quickly said, “No. I think as you look at how much different the qualifying stuff is than the race stuff the car just has a different feel to it. You can just abuse it and drive it harder and do things differently than what you can do in race trim. Your focus of what you are looking for is so drastically different for race stuff and looking at the long runs. Right now it’s just about getting enough grip in the car to be able to get it pointed in the right direction and bury back in the throttle. It’s definitely two different things you are looking for.”
Joey Logano came close to duplicating Harvick's effort. Logano was simply six hundredths of a second slower overall. Logano was faster than Harvick until he rolled through the third and fourth turns.
“We were all waiting at the end trying to get every degree out of the track that we could get to get a little more speed out of our car. I had a decent lap. I had three decent laps to get us through to the last round. I messed up turn one a little the first lap. The second lap of the last run I was able to get a better arc and the car was a little on the tight side and I wasn’t able to beat the 4 car. Overall, that is three straight front-row starts so we are proud of that. Only one pole – that is the part we aren’t proud of. We need to find some more speed there. That is a good starting spot and this place isn’t easy to pass. A lot of strategy will come into play. We will have a good pit stall and that is a good thing. We will be able to race hard and try to win this thing.”
Tine will tell if Logano can find a quicker long run setup than Harvick.
To some there was a real surprise during qualifying. Kurt Busch, out of the first three races of the season, stretched his muscle with a positive 8th place qualifying effort.
"It was 50/50," stated Busch when asked how his team had approached the only practice session prior to qualifying. Fity percent race trim and 50 percent qualifying trim. Overall, Phoenix was an ideal spot for Busch to break back into the Sprint Cup Series.
“Phoenix is probably the track that I have the most amount of laps on in my career,” admitted Busch when asked about his effort. “It was great to roll right off the hauler and be towards the top of the chart. It’s not me; it’s the team. The team is building very competitive cars. Kevin Harvick is in one of the strongest sequences that I’ve ever seen in our sport and I’ve got a teammate car to his. So, it’s really up to me to try to keep up with him. Overall, I’m pleased with how I was able to get back in the seat and show some speed and now you’ve got to work on those little things that pay dividends at the end of these races on Sunday.”
Two drivers – Tanner Berryhill and Travis Kvapil – failed to make the 43 car field for the Camping World 500.