NASCAR at Bristol 2014 Results: Race Order, Final Times and Twitter Reaction

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NASCAR at Bristol 2014 Results: Race Order, Final Times and Twitter Reaction
Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images

Kevin Harvick will take pole position for the Irwin Tools Night Race on Saturday after a stunning qualifying run at Bristol Motor Speedway that saw him narrowly edge out Jeff Gordon for the top spot.

For big-time NASCAR events, qualifying always feels like a race before the race. There is no way that these top competitors won't take every last inch of space flying around the track at 130-plus miles per hour, so the qualifying positions are a strong indicator of who will be aggressive and confident heading into the actual race day.

Here is the complete race order and final qualifying times for the 500-lap Irwin Tools Night Race.

Irwin Tools Night Race: Order, Qualifying Times
Position Driver Car No. Best Time
1 Kevin Harvick 4 14.607
2 Jeff Gordon 24 14.615
3 Carl Edwards 99 14.624
4 Kyle Busch 18 14.641
5 Joey Logano 22 14.644
6 Jimmie Johnson 48 14.644
7 Kurt Busch 41 14.654
8 Greg Biffle 16 14.662
9 Brad Keselowski 2 14.703
10 Marcos Ambrose 9 14.708
11 Ryan Newman 31 14.741
12 Kasey Kahne 5 14.759

NASCAR.com

Full qualifying results can be found at NASCAR.com. 

 

Reaction

There's a good chance that NBC Sports' Marty Snider's reaction to the top times of Gordon and Harvick represent the feelings of numerous NASCAR fans:

Indeed, it was a smooth, fast and confident run by Harvick, who is currently sixth in the Sprint Cup Series standings with two wins and seven top-five finishes on the season, per NASCAR.com.

For a driver with his experience and skill, pole position almost guarantees him another top-10 finish, and his recent run of strong performances, including second-place runs in the Pure Michigan 400 and GoBowling.com 400, make him a fantastic bet to pull off a top-three finish at Bristol.

Wade Payne/Associated Press
Kevin Harvick

Of course, Gordon is a force of nature in his own right, and for a time, it looked like he would handily take the pole position in Bristol. As SB Nation's Jordan Bianchi noted, the current Sprint Cup Series standings leader's lap from the first round of qualifying set a track record:

Lowercase letters couldn't appropriately express this fan's excitement at the news:

The celebratory mood would be short-lived, although Gordon will surely take a gratifying outside pole position for Saturday's race.

USA Today's Jeff Gluck noted the exact moment that Harvick took over pole position for the race:

NASCAR on ESPN noted that at least one driver took on some damage during the qualifying rounds:

Lurking in fifth place is defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who is no stranger to excellent qualifying performances. He's currently seventh in the Sprint Cup standings and may need some serious help from those ahead of him to gain ground and try to retain his cup title.

Joey Logano gained plenty of ground after the first round of qualifying. Shell Racing US noted he didn't get off to a very hot start on Friday:

If there is a favorite for this race, look no further than Jeff Gordon. He's coming off a much-needed victory in the Pure Michigan 400.

"Certainly things are going well—there's no doubt about that," Gordon said, via The Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "I'm as shocked as anybody else." 

Gordon's last victory in Michigan prior to last weekend's race came all the way back in 2001. He should have plenty of confidence to go along with his excellent qualifying time. Look for him to spoil Harvick's moment in the spotlight and cement his hold on the lead in the Sprint Cup Series.

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