Chase Elliott beats Kevin Harvick for pole at Phoenix

Chase Elliott
Chase Elliott
Betty Garcia/AR1.com

Kevin Harvick showed the way, and Chase Elliott proved the model student in Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series time trials at Phoenix Raceway.

After Harvick tested the traction compound at the top of the 1-mile track and made it work — running a qualifying lap in 26.110 seconds (137.878 mph) — Elliott followed with a pole-winning effort of 26.065 seconds (138.116 mph).

“Kevin kind of made the top work, and I think after everyone saw that, they moved up," said Elliott, who earned his first Busch Pole Award of the season, his first at Phoenix and the ninth of his career. “It’s great to get a pole. We’ve got different colors this week with (sponsor) UniFirst on our Camaro. I’m excited to grab them a pole.

“It’s always exciting when you can put down a fast lap. Hopefully, (Sunday) goes good — that’s always the challenge. We’ll see, and I’m looking forward to it."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Elliott and Harvick will line up on the front row for Sunday’s FanShield 500 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Denny Hamlin (137.841 mph) and Kyle Larson (137.604 mph) will start third and fourth, respectively, in the conclusion to the three-race West Coast swing.

Qualifying near the front at Phoenix is nothing new to Elliott, who will start within the top 10 for the eighth straight race at the 1-mile mile track and on the front row for the third time in the last four events here.

Finishing races at Phoenix has proven another matter entirely for the driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Contrast Elliott’s average starting position of 5.5 to his average finish of 13.8.

Phoenix, on the other hand, has perhaps done more to cement Harvick’s reputation as “The Closer" than any other track. Harvick will start Sunday’s race trying to extend a streak of 13 straight top 10s in the Sonoran Desert, a string that includes six victories. All told, Harvick has won nine times at Phoenix.

Chase Elliott
Chase Elliott

“It was close," said Harvick, who did not make a mock run in either of Friday’s practice sessions. “I probably didn’t have quite enough confidence on the first lap that I should have had in it. The guys did a great job.

“Not doing a qualifying lap in practice, we just worked on our race stuff, and we were kind of winging it right there as to what we thought was right, and it worked out OK."

Series leader Ryan Blaney will start fifth, followed by Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman, last week’s winner at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Matt DiBenedetto qualified ninth, and Kyle Busch, the defending winner of the race, will line up 10th.

Notes: Elliott qualified for next year’s Busch Clash, which will be run on Daytona International Speedway’s road course for the first time. … Martin Truex Jr. posted the 12th-fastest lap but will start from the rear of the field for the second straight week because of an engine change. At Auto Club, Truex was also sent to the back of the field after his car failed inspection three times.

Results

Pos No. Driver Team Time Speed
1 9 Chase Elliott UniFirst Chevrolet 26.065 138.116
2 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's Freaky Fast Ford 26.11 137.878
3 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Toyota 26.117 137.841
4 42 Kyle Larson McDonald's Chevrolet 26.162 137.604
5 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Tarkett Ford 26.19 137.457
6 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 26.19 137.457
7 1 Kurt Busch GEARWRENCH Chevrolet 26.197 137.42
8 88 Alex Bowman Axalta Chevrolet 26.216 137.321
9 21 Matt DiBenedetto Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford 26.222 137.289
10 18 Kyle Busch Sport Clips Toyota 26.23 137.247
11 20 Erik Jones Interstate Batteries Toyota 26.257 137.106
12 19 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops Toyota 26.278 136.997
13 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 26.287 136.95
14 2 Brad Keselowski Alliance Parts Ford 26.289 136.939
15 95 Christopher Bell # Procore Toyota 26.295 136.908
16 41 Cole Custer # Haas Automation Ford 26.339 136.679
17 24 William Byron Hertz Chevrolet 26.364 136.55
18 14 Clint Bowyer Mobil 1/Haas CNC Ford 26.388 136.426
19 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Kroger Chevrolet 26.448 136.116
20 37 Ryan Preece Velveeta Chevrolet 26.449 136.111
21 48 Jimmie Johnson Ally Chevrolet 26.481 135.947
22 34 Michael McDowell Love's Travel Stops Ford 26.502 135.839
23 17 Chris Buescher SunnyD Ford 26.512 135.788
24 6 Ross Chastain(i) Oscar Mayer Ford 26.527 135.711
25 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet 26.528 135.706
26 38 John Hunter Nemechek # MDS Transport Ford 26.541 135.639
27 43 Bubba Wallace World Wide Technology Chevrolet 26.635 135.161
28 32 Corey LaJoie Motor Trend Ford 26.668 134.993
29 8 Tyler Reddick # I Am Second Chevrolet 26.693 134.867
30 3 Austin Dillon Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Off Road Chev 26.772 134.469
31 96 Daniel Suarez CommScope Toyota 26.873 133.963
32 15 Brennan Poole # Goettl Chevrolet 26.909 133.784
33 52 JJ Yeley(i) Jacob Construction Ford 27.169 132.504
34 0 Quin Houff # Mount-N-Lock/Ashurst Honey Chev 27.211 132.299
35 77 Reed Sorenson Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 27.395 131.411
36 51 Garrett Smithley Jacob Construction Chevrolet 27.464 131.081
37 53 Joey Gase(i) Chevrolet 27.533 130.752
38 66 Timmy Hill(i) PIT BOSS GRILLS Toyota 27.584 130.51

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