Kevin Harvick Wins Kansas Pole, Looks to Gain Ground on Championship Leaders

Paul CarreauAnalyst IOctober 5, 2013

Kevin Harvick won the pole for the first time in the last 254 Sprint Cup Series races.
Kevin Harvick won the pole for the first time in the last 254 Sprint Cup Series races.Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

For the first time in his last 254 Sprint Cup Series races, Kevin Harvick won the pole and earned the right to lead the field to the green flag for this weekend's Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Harvick earned the top spot with a lap, according to the speed chart obtained by, of 187.526 miles per hour, which was two miles per hour quicker than his practice-leading lap earlier on Friday. 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano will make up the rest of the top five starters. Defending race winner and series championship leader Matt Kenseth will start in the seventh position. Only 43 cars attempted a qualifying lap, so no one will miss the race.

For Harvick, the pole win is the sixth of his career and the first since he took the top spot at New Hampshire back in September of 2006. Coming into this weekend, he had the worst average starting position (16.3) among all Chase drivers. His pole win was unexpected and certainly comes as a mild surprise.

Not typically known for his qualifying prowess, the fast lap for Harvick could be the start of a very good weekend.

In his previous five Sprint Cup Series starts from the pole, Harvick is a two-time winner and has never finished worse than 12th. He has also finished on the lead lap in all five events.

Harvick enters this weekend's race fourth in the championship standings, 39 points behind Kenseth. The pole will give him an early chance to lead a lap, another category where he ranks last among championship contenders, and gain some much-needed bonus points.

The cars and drivers will return to the track for two Saturday practice sessions. The first session will last for 50 minutes beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET, with Happy Hour scheduled for 1:50 p.m. ET.

The two practices will be the last on-track activities for the teams prior to Sunday's race.