BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — Kevin Harvick has become the best qualifier in NASCAR's top series, at least for this season.
The veteran driver won the pole position for Saturday night's Sprint Cup Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday night. It's his series-high fifth top starting spot of the season, and just the 11th in 490 starts in his career.
"Faster cars," Harvick said with a wide grin. "That's it.'"
Harvick, in his first season with Stewart-Haas Racing, set a track record with a lap at 131.362 mph that knocked Jeff Gordon from the top spot. Gordon, the series points leader, will start second at 131.290.
"Any time you beat the 24 right now, things are going ok," Harvick said.
Gordon was equally pleased.
"I thought I had a really good laps that first run out," he said. "I came on the radio and I said, 'That is all I got.' When you go do that and the car is well balanced and you get a good lap, you know that it's up to somebody else to just take a little more risk and maybe get it, and Kevin did that."
Carl Edwards, who won here in the spring, will start third, with Kyle Busch fourth. Busch has won five times in his career on the 0.533-mile oval, but said he's concerned the lone groove around the top of the track could be problematic.