Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

NASCAR ; Harvick Gets Kentucky Pole after Rain Cancels Qualifying

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

NASCAR ; Harvick Gets Kentucky Pole after Rain Cancels Qualifying

Article excerpt

SPARTA, Ky. - Storms washed out qualifying at Kentucky Speedway on Friday, putting Kevin Harvick on the pole for Saturday night's Sprint Cup Series race based on owner points. Severe weather moved over the track near midday and shortened practice to around 30 minutes. A brief sprinkle followed but cars were able to return to the track for practice with another session scheduled for evening.

In any event, Harvick's No. 4 Chevy will lead the field to green alongside Brad Keselowski in the No. 2 Ford.

It is the first Kentucky pole for Harvick, who has two top-five starts in five trips here. But he and other drivers will likely have to reboot their strategy after rain washed the 1.5 mile tri-oval clean of rubber they put down in hopes of widening grooves on the resurfaced and reconfigured track.

"Hopefully, being able to get some more practice will be beneficial, Harvick said. "We still don't really have a good idea of exactly where we need to be as far as balance and what is going to happen the longer you run the car.

Given the 2014 champion's consistency this season, Harvick seems likely to figure it out.

Harvick hasn't won since the fourth race at Phoenix but has posted 13 top-10 finishes with seven top fives in 17 starts. He has led the points after the past eight races but has generated less buzz compared to counterparts such as Keselowski or defending champion Kyle Busch, who are tied with a series-best three wins.

Harvick's consolation has been steadiness he believes will translate into victories.

"We are cleaning a lot of things up as we go from week to week, he said, "and hopefully we are ready as we get into the Chase and have everything hitting on all cylinders. I feel good about the performance and good about the progress that we have made with adjusting and adapting and the things that we have been able to achieve have been OK. …

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