As NASCAR heads to Kansas for the 11th race of the season, Kevin Harvick will pace the field looking for his third win of the season.
Harvick took the pole for the 5-Hour Energy 400 with a speed of 194.252 mph in the final round of qualifying. NASCAR Stats notes the final result for the start of the race on Saturday night:
Friday's pole award was the second of the year for the new driver for Stewart-Haas Racing. In his first season, Harvick has accomplished something he's only done one other time in his career, per Nate Ryan of USA Today:
Only second time in 14 Sprint Cup seasons Kevin Harvick has multiple pole positions. Other was 2005. #nascar— Nate Ryan (@nateryan) May 9, 2014
Though Harvick had an outstanding finish in the qualifying rounds, he was far from the only strong driver from Stewart-Haas. With Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick all inside the top 10, the team has a chance to find more success after three wins in the first 10 races.
Here's a look at the top 10 for the 5-Hour Energy 400. Full results can be found at NASCAR.com.
The sudden dominance at Kansas was unexpected, but Harvick has experienced plenty of success at the track.
In the last race held at Kansas, Harvick came away victorious. With that run coming as a member of Richard Childress Racing, this continued dominance of the track shows he can continue that streak with Stewart-Haas.
Every single SHR driver made the final round of qualifying, with three in the top five, per NASCAR Stats:
That success was also evident in the early going, as Ryan notes:
After 10 minutes of qualifying, it's the Stewart-Haas Racing show. Kurt Busch fastest, then 99 4 14 22. Danica Patrick seventh. #nascar— Nate Ryan (@nateryan) May 9, 2014
Aside from the three wins, though, this has been an up-and-down season for the SHR team. Whether it's Patrick struggling to finish in the top 20, Harvick's car malfunctions or Stewart and Busch's luck, the team has experienced early woes in 2014.
Harvick is also helping his teammates and commented on track conditions, per Ryan:
Kevin Harvick said he talked to Danica Patrick for over an hour before qualifying, providing advice. All four SHR cars in final 12. #nascar— Nate Ryan (@nateryan) May 9, 2014
Kevin Harvick says speeds are high, and there won't be a lot of tire wear in Saturday's race. Could be chance for myriad strategies. #nascar— Nate Ryan (@nateryan) May 10, 2014
As for another dominant team that hasn't found Victory Lane multiple times this season, Hendrick Motorsports faced uncharacteristic struggles on Friday night.
None of the four drivers found their way into the final round of qualifying, per the team's official account:
While qualifying wasn't great, both Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon have great track records at Kansas. The two drivers have combined for four wins at the track and are two of only five drivers with multiple wins.
After becoming the first driver to win multiple races this season, could Harvick become the first to three checkered flags? With Harvick at the top of the leaderboard at the start of the race, it's going to be tough sledding for anyone looking to overtake the No. 4 machine.
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