Kevin Harvick Wins Second Darlington Pole

Kevin Harvick won his second-straight Darlington pole
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Kevin Harvick scored his second Darlington pole in Saturday's qualifying for Sunday's Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Driving throwback paint scheme on his no. 4 Busch Beer Chevrolet honoring five-time Southern 500 winner Cale Yarborough, Harvick swept all three rounds of qualifying to secure his fourth pole of the season and 21st of his career.

Martin Truex, Jr. took second, followed by Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray.

Harvick lapped the field with a speed of 177.730 mph to knock his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch from the top spot, then sweated it out as Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and then Truex tried and failed to unseat Harvick from the top spot.

It was the third-career front-row start in the Southern 500 for Harvick, who finished runner-up to Truex Jr. in last year's race.

"It feels pretty good. We're on the pole," said Harvick. "It's been a good start to the weekend for us and the car is driving good and we we're able to put three laps together. Everything is going well."

Harvick paced the opening round of qualifying, running 178.187 mph to lead Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, McMurray and Truex, Jr. to advance to the second round.

Round two was more of the same, with Harvick going right back on top after a single lap, clocking in with a 177.511 mph run to lead Erik Jones, McMurray, Larson and Kyle Busch.

The opening rounds set the stage for Harvick's final run for the pole as the sixth driver to take to the track, going straight to the top of the scoring pylon for the final time the second straight year and taking the coveted first pit stall for Sunday night's race.

Harvick's throwback car honors Cale Yarborough's 1979 Daytona 500-winner paint scheme

"Track position is never a disadvantage….the biggest advantage here is the first pit stall because the timing line is so close to the pit exit there with the first stall. So that's really the biggest advantage," said Harvick. "I think if your car is handling good, you can make your way through traffic, but having that first pit stall if you car is not handling good, it allows you to make up two or three spots if you have a decent pit stop and hopefully keep that track position all night. That's really the biggest advantage."

Defending race winner Martin Truex, Jr. collected his career-best Darlington start, looking to rebound from last week's disappointing 21st-place finish at Bristol that snapped his three-race top-five-finish streak.

"That was definitely a good, successful qualifying session for us," said Truex, Jr. "It – we thought we were off a little bit the first round then just kept working on the car and kind of adjusted the driving style a little throughout all three rounds and we ended up second. So seems like we've been second a lot this year and it's been a good number for us and hopefully it'll be a good one tomorrow night."

Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Jones rounded out the top ten qualifiers.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

Pos. # Driver Make Sponsor Lap Behind Speed
1 4 Kevin Harvick Ford Busch Beer 27.669 LEADER 177.730
2 78 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota Bass Pro Shops 27.771 -0.102 177.077
3 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's Caramel 27.833 -0.164 176.682
4 42 Kyle Larson Chevy Credit One Bank 27.851 -0.182 176.568
5 1 Jamie McMurray Chevy McDonald's 27.874 -0.205 176.422
6 2 Brad Keselowski Ford Miller Genuine Draft 27.924 -0.255 176.107
7 41 Kurt Busch Ford Monster Energy 27.935 -0.266 176.037
8 22 Joey Logano Ford Shell Pennzoil 27.940 -0.271 176.006
9 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota Sport Clips 27.954 -0.285 175.918
10 77 Erik Jones Toyota 5-hour ENERGY 28.036 -0.367 175.403
11 20 Matt Kenseth Toyota Circle K 28.041 -0.372 175.372
12 21 Ryan Blaney Ford Motorcraft 28.097 -0.428 175.022
13 3 Austin Dillon Chevy American Ethanol 27.968 -0.299 175.830
14 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford Fifth Third Bank 28.038 -0.369 175.391
15 43 Aric Almirola Ford STP 28.048 -0.379 175.328
16 14 Clint Bowyer Ford Carolina Ford Dealers 28.054 -0.385 175.291
17 31 Ryan Newman Chevy Caterpillar 28.091 -0.422 175.060
18 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy Lowe's 28.097 -0.428 175.022
19 19 Daniel Suarez Toyota ARRIS 28.109 -0.440 174.948
20 24 Chase Elliott Chevy NAPA Auto Parts 28.115 -0.446 174.910
21 27 Paul Menard Chevy Dutch Boy / Menards 28.155 -0.486 174.662
22 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevy Nationwide 28.162 -0.493 174.618
23 5 Kasey Kahne Chevy Great Clips 28.261 -0.592 174.007
24 6 Trevor Bayne Ford AdvoCare 28.309 -0.640 173.712
25 13 Ty Dillon Chevy GEICO 28.132 -0.463 174.804
26 38 David Ragan Ford Camping World 28.146 -0.477 174.718
27 37 Chris Buescher Chevy Cheerios 28.172 -0.503 174.556
28 32 Matt DiBenedetto Ford Keen Parts\Corvetteparts.net 28.184 -0.515 174.482
29 47 AJ Allmendinger Chevy Kroger Click List 28.301 -0.632 173.761
30 95 Michael McDowell Chevy WRL General Contractors 28.310 -0.641 173.705
31 34 Landon Cassill Ford Love’s Travel Stops 28.429 -0.760 172.978
32 15 Reed Sorenson Toyota Xchange of America 28.620 -0.951 171.824
33 10 Danica Patrick Ford Ford Credit 28.631 -0.962 171.758
34 72 Cole Whitt Chevy TriStar Motorsports 28.681 -1.012 171.458
35 23 Corey Lajoie Toyota Dr. Pepper 28.684 -1.015 171.441
36 83 Gray Gaulding Toyota Champion Machinery 28.765 -1.096 170.958
37 33 Jeffrey Earnhardt Chevy Hulu 28.876 -1.207 170.301
38 55 Derrike Cope Toyota Mane 'n Tail 29.372 -1.703 167.425
39 51 Cody Ware Chevy Bubba Burger / Pray for Texas 29.566 -1.897 166.326
40 66 Carl Long Chevy CrashClaimsR.US 29.697 -2.028 165.592

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