NASCAR at Phoenix 2018 Qualifying Results: Kevin Harvick Takes Pole Position

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2018

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 09:  Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch Light Ford, practices for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway on November 9, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Kevin Harvick is set to start from the pole position in Sunday's Can-Am 500 after posting the best time in the final round of qualifying Friday at ISM Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. 

Harvick will be joined on the front row by Chase Elliott for the penultimate race of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ryan Blaney are going to break from Row 2.

After Sunday's race, just four drivers will be left standing to chase the championship next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida. Only Joey Logano has clinched a berth in the Championship 4 so far during the Round of 8.

Here's a look at the top 10 starters for the Can-Am 500:

1. Kevin Harvick (4)

2. Chase Elliott (9)

3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (17)

4. Ryan Blaney (12)

5. Alex Bowman (88)

6. Kyle Busch (18)

7. Erik Jones (20)

8. Kyle Larson (42)

9. Joey Logano (22)

10. Denny Hamlin (11)

Winning the pole is the first step toward redemption for Harvick. His automatic berth in the championship race was revoked following last week's win in Texas because of a spoiler infraction. He also was docked 40 points, leaving him just three points above the projected cut line.

The 2014 Cup Series champion commented on the situation after topping the leaderboard Friday:


Scoreboard. #BuschPole | #4TheCup https://t.co/YbiTn9kvfQ

Harvick owns a terrific track record at ISM Raceway with nine wins in 32 career starts. Add in getting to start from the front of the field and there's a strong chance he'll ultimately earn a place in the Championship 4 despite the setback at Texas.

That said, the 42-year-old California native's spot is at most risk heading into Sunday. Logano, the Cup Series leader, is clinched while Kyle Busch (+28) and Martin Truex Jr. (+25) are both in more comfortable positions to hold on should they not find Victory Lane.

So Harvick is the top target for Kurt Busch (-3) and Elliott (-17), while Aric Almirola (-35) and Clint Bowyer (-51) likely need to win the Can-Am 500 to secure a berth in the final four.


.@ChaseElliott can make it into the Championship 4 on points. BUT... his mind is set on WINNING on Sunday. He'll start second when we drop the green flag on NBC. #NASCARPlayoffs #di9 https://t.co/CeYdpyd3yk

All told, there are numerous different scenarios in play in the Round of 8 finale, but the easiest one for the seven remaining contenders to join Logano is getting the win.

Harvick will be the driver to beat once the green flag waves Sunday.