Kevin Harvick beat the field and the rain on Friday night at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee, winning the pole during qualifying for Saturday night’s Irwin Tools Night Race.
Harvick, who posted a best-lap time of 14.607 seconds, narrowly nipped Jeff Gordon in the second round of qualifying and will sit on his fifth pole of the 2014 season.
Gordon, the current points leader, led after the first round of qualifying runs and briefly held the track record for fastest lap, but he couldn’t hold on, ceding both to Harvick.
With just three races remaining before the season-ending Chase for the Sprint Cup begins, drivers sitting outside the Chase grid have precious few opportunities remaining to secure the necessary wins or points to qualify.
Saturday’s night race at Bristol is one of the most hotly anticipated of the season, and with time running short, fast track conditions and a high-banked, half-mile oval known for producing dramatics, you can expect excitement.