Harvick on pole after rain washes out qualifying

Happy Harvick
Happy Harvick

Rain has halted on-track activity Friday at Chicagoland Speedway, throwing a kink into a busy tripleheader weekend schedule for all three NASCAR national series. When knockout qualifying was cancelled due to inclement weather, Kevin Harvick, was awarded the pole position for Sunday’s myAFibRisk.com 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

Harvick, the defending Spring Cup champion, outran the field in his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS with a fast lap of 188.317 in 28.675 seconds on the 1.5-mile track.

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 JIMMY JOHN’S/BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS – POLE WINNER

POST-QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:

KEVIN, TALK ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY TO BRING THE FIELD TO GREEN FROM THAT FIRST POSTION FOR THE FIRST RACE OF THE CHASE: “First off, I am most proud of my team for having a fast race car to come to the track; having a plan and doing all the things they did to pay attention to the weather. They put a lot emphasis on trying to lay a fast lap down just like everybody to get a good starting position with the way that the weather was. Rodney (Childers) and Mike (Bugarewicz) and everybody on the team have done a good job. Just proud of that. Obviously having the first pit stall and having good track position to start is important. To have it all work out today was really good for the team. Just proud of everybody."

NOW THAT FIELD SET BY PRACTIVE SPEED, DO YOU EXPECT THE LINE-UP WILL BE MORE LIKE IF WE HAD QUALIFIED? “I think today is a unique scenario because everybody thought it was going to rain, and predicted that it was going to rain. You saw a lot of cars star in Q trim, so I think it is probably fairly close to how qualifying would have…who knows how qualifying would work out. There was obviously a lot of time that we went in between to test-out different conditions we would have qualified in. Everybody put a lot of emphasis on qualifying today because it looked like it was going to rain like it is right now."

DID YOU DO ANY RUNS IN RACE TRIM, OR DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW YOUR CAR WILL BE IN RACE TRIM? “I feel like our car is really good in race trim. We started in race trim just because Rodney and I just felt like that this is one of those places…it is a hard place to drive around because it is so rough, and the timing and the rhythm of the race track is something that as a driver you need to be able to get into that rhythm before you go into qualifying trim because things just happen a lot faster. We felt like we needed some direction to work on things tonight from a race trim stand point. But most of all, just really for me, that we didn’t go down a road was the wrong way because of me being out of rhythm. I’ve been in a car a lot this week, but this a unique track we came back to once a year. It is very rough and hitting the right marks and knowing where you need to be is very important here to get a fast lap.

YOU MENTIONED ONLY COMING HERE ONCE A YEAR. IS IT MORE DIFFICULT TO GET A HANDLE ON TRACKS THAT YOU ONLY GO ONE TIME? “The answer to that is yes. But I think this place in particular because it is so rough and you are carrying so much speed that you have to hit your marks in order to keep your car in the right line of where you need to run it. At Darlington, it is pretty simple because there is only one place to run fast, and it is usually close to the wall. Both places definitely take some time to get in a rhythm racer. If I am out of rhythm, it definitely costs us more speed than what the car is probably off. Usually we can find some speed usually by working on the driver and getting him in rhythm. It is one of those places that is more so that way than most."

WHAT DO WE MAKE OF THE NO. 11 (DENNY HAMLIN) BECAUSE THEY ARE 30TH? “I know I have the best team in the garage, and the best group of guys, and today, they prepared a really fast race car."

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