Kevin Harvick first of five Fords up front at Texas

by Lisa Janine Cloud

Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion delivered a freaky-fast qualifying effort on Friday afternoon, sweeping all three segments of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying for Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Harvick swept all three segments on Friday afternoon, leading a fleet of Fords in the front of the field.  

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver earned his 19th career pole, his first at Texas. “I have to say thank you to the Xfinity guys for letting me run that car this weekend because I really think the reps allowed us learn some things that I was able to apply here,” said Harvick. 

On the outside front row, Ryan Blaney came close to scoring the coveted Henry Repeating Rifle given to the Coors Light Pole Winner at Texas Motor Speedway, but he came up .053 seconds short in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford.

“We got better each round which is always encouraging, always what you want. You never want to get worse or make the wrong adjustments. I feel this year we've gotten better going round by round.” said Blaney. “Man, I heard that they give you a shotgun when you win the pole here. I saw my lap and thought that might do it but Kevin (Harvick) just snuck by us.”

Clint Bowyer matched Blaney’s lap time of 27.27, so he’ll roll off third because Blaney is one spot ahead in the points standings. “You go into a weekend like this with a lot of unknowns and it is the teamwork that pulls you through and makes you strong.” explained Bowyer. “Really nice day for us and the 14 team and also for Ford. Sweeping the top-five is big.” 

Team Penske’s Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski start fourth and fifth, respectively. Logano seemed as excited for the Ford sweep as he was for his starting position. “How awesome is that to have Ford sweep the top-five,” exclaimed Logano. “We aren’t first but to see the top-five as Fords is just awesome. I bet it has been a long time for that. It is neat to see. Usually if you see a manufacturer sweep the top-three it is an accomplishment. Top-five is a hell of an accomplishment”  

Keselowski agreed. “It is a good feeling to see all those blue ovals up there at the front. This track takes a lot of RPM and our engines run good with that.”
Nine teams failed to make qualifying laps because they did not pass tech in time. The Chevys of Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chris Buescher, and Timmy Hill, along with the Toyotas of Kyle Busch and Erik Jones, and Derrike Cope did not reach the grid before time ran out on the first segment. They will all start in the rear of the field, arranged by points.

Here’s the full starting lineup:

Pos.DriverCar No.
1Kevin Harvick4
2Ryan Blaney21
3Clint Bowyer14
4Joey Logano22
5Brad Keselowski2
6Jamie McMurray1
7Martin Truex, Jr.78
8Matt Kenseth20
9Ryan Newman31
10Kurt Busch41
11Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.17
12Trevor Bayne6
13Michael McDowell95
14Ty Dillon13
15Landon Cassill34
16A.J. Allmendinger47
17Denny Hamlin11
18Aric Almirola43
19Danica Patrick10
20Daniel Suarez19
21David Ragan38
22Paul Menard27
23Corey LaJoie83
24Jimmie Johnson48
25Austin Dillon3
26Matt DiBenedetto32
27J.J. Yeley7
28Cole Whitt72
29Gray Gaulding23
30Reed Sorenson15
31Jeffrey Earnhardt33
32Kyle Larson42
33Chase Elliott24
34Kyle Busch18
35Kasey Kahne5
36Erik Jones77
37Dale Earnhardt, Jr.88
38Chris Buescher37
39Timmy Hill51
40Derrike Cope55

Kevin Harvick first of five Fords up front at Texas Kevin Harvick first of five Fords up front at Texas Reviewed by Janine Cloud on Sunday, April 09, 2017 Rating: 5