Starting lineup for Chase race No. 4 at Charlotte
The pressure is on, with the second round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint about to get started. And in the last three seasons, no driver has performed in the clutch better than Kevin Harvick.
Thursday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Harvick came up big again, winning the pole for Saturday’s Bank of America 500.
In claiming the No. 1 qualifying spot, Harvick had a best lap of 196.029 miles per hour in his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. The pole was the first of the year and 16th of his career for Harvick.
“Well, we struggled when we first rolled off the truck in race trim and got our car a little bit better and better and better,” said Harvick, the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. “Hopefully what we learned in qualifying, we can apply some of that stuff to the race trim stuff and go from there.”
Second fast was a surprising Alex Bowman, who ran 196.000 mph in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to just edge his teammate Chase Elliott’s lap of 195.759 mph.
“It’s so cool going to the race track knowing you have equipment capable of winning,” said Bowman, who is substituting for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Kyle Busch was fourth in the first of the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas, followed by Tony Stewart in a second SHR Chevy.
Four drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup failed to make it out of the second round of qualifying, with Matt Kenseth 17th, Austin Dillon 19th, Brad Keselowski 20th and Kurt Busch 23rd.
With a rare Thursday night qualifying session -- and with wet and windy weather from Hurricane Matthew expected to arrive tomorrow -- the field is now set for the opening race in the Chase for the NASCAR Round of 12.
The Round of 12 consists of the Charlotte race, then next week’s event at Kansas Speedway and another in two weeks at Talladega Superspeedway. After the completion of the Talladega race, the Chase field will be cut from 12 cars to just eight.
See the full starting lineup for the Bank of America 500 below.