Kevin Harvick On The Pole For Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Bank of America 500by Hunter Thomas October 6, 2016 0 comments
CONCORD, N.C. – Kevin Harvick captured his first pole of the season on Thursday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Harvick ran a lap of 27.547 seconds at 196.029 mph to sit on the pole for Saturday’s Bank of America 500. Not only does the effort mark his first pole of the season, but it’s also Harvick’s first in 32 races at the track. The driver of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Busch Hunting Chevrolet SS topped the speed chart in Thursday’s opening practice as well. In Round 1 of Coors Light Pole Qualifying, Harvick was fastest and in Round 2, he was second before earning the pole in the third and final round.
“I just got to the green a little bit better,” Harvick said. “The car was too loose the time before. And I got to the green better. It was good in (Turns) 1 and 2; but I felt like I gave up a little something in (Turns) 3 and 4 coming to the checkered. But, I’ve just got to thank all my sponsors and everybody on this team, Chevrolet and Hendrick engines and chassis for everything that they do and for everything that Stewart-Haas (Racing) does. This has just been a fun car to drive today. Hopefully we can get it dialed in race trim.”
Second alongside of Harvick in second is Alex Bowman, who is substituting for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Bowman ran the second fastest lap in opening practice on Thursday afternoon. During qualifying, Bowman was third in Round 1, and he followed that effort up by pacing Round 2. The driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet missed out on the pole by a mere 0.004 seconds.
“Honestly, we didn’t put the greatest lap together,” Bowman said. “In (Turns) 1 and 2, we were a little free in and didn’t really keep it on the bottom like I needed to. Turns 3 and 4 were really good. It means so much for Hendrick Motorsports to take a chance on me for these races. I’m really thankful to be here. I hate that we didn’t get the pole. We were so close. It’s definitely my best starting spot by a bunch, but you’d always like that pole.”
Bowman’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Chase Elliott will start third on Saturday night. Elliott was only 17th in first practice, but his car was very strong in Coors Light Pole Qualifying. Elliott clocked the 12th fastest time in Round 1 and the third fastest time in the final two rounds. The driver of the No. 24 3M Chevrolet SS now has 14 top-10 starts in 30 races this year.
“Well, I thought I lost it in Turns 1 and 2, but they said I lost it in (Turns) 3 and 4,” Elliott said. “We’ll have to go back and look at watch. Obviously I wasn’t right. Everybody has been working really hard to get better. This has not been a very good place for me, historically in Qualifying; or in the race, for that matter. So, I’m really happy with that and I’m very proud of the team. We’re excited for Saturday night.”
Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart will start fourth and fifth. AJ Allmendinger had a strong effort and will start sixth. Coca-Cola 600 winner Martin Truex Jr. will roll off seventh. Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano rounded out the top-10.
The Bank of America 500 will broadcast live on NBC and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday night.
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images