NASCAR's weekend at Kansas Speedway got underway Friday with Kevin Harvick winning the pole for the Digital Ally 400.
Harvick was at an advantage when he started his qualifying lap. He was the 38th out of 40 cars to go, leaving him with a strong idea of what time he'd have to beat. The 43-year-old earned the top spot with a time of 30.131 seconds, just ahead of runner-up Aric Almirola by 0.083 seconds.
Here is the full starting order for Sunday's race, via NASCAR.com:
Row 1: Kevin Harvick (pole), Aric Almirola
Row 2: Clint Bowyer, Daniel Suarez
Row 3: Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr.
Row 4: William Byron, Kyle Larson
Row 5: Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman
Row 6: Erik Jones, Bubba Wallace
Row 7: Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch
Row 8: Ty Dillon, Paul Menard
Row 9: Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson
Row 10: Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano
Row 11: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Austin Dillon
Row 12: Michael McDowell, Corey LaJoie
Row 13: Landon Cassill, Daniel Hemric
Row 14: Chris Buescher, Ryan Newman
Row 15: Matt DiBenedetto, Tyler Reddick
Row 16: Ryan Preece, Bayley Currey
Row 17: David Ragan, Quin Houff
Row 18: Matt Tifft, Ross Chastain
Row 19: Cody Ware, Joey Gase
Row 20: Timmy Hill, Reed Sorensen
Harvick is in a familiar spot as he chases a second win here in as many years. He used the pole position last spring as a springboard to victory in Kansas.
Right after Harvick earned the top spot in the field, he explained why the No. 4 car has a great chance of going all the way when the actual race begins:
Starting from the front is nothing new for Harvick, who now leads the Monster Energy circuit with three pole wins in 2019. He's entering Saturday night's race in third place of the overall point standings, trailing Kyle Busch and Joey Logano.
Those previous poles haven't yet led to victories in those races for Harvick. His best finish is fourth, which he's done four different times in 11 events.
Kansas Speedway has been a favorite track for Harvick throughout his career. The Stewart-Haas Racing team member has finished top-three here in each of the past five years.
Another SHR driver wasn't pleased to finish behind his teammate for the pole position:
Almirola has reasons to be frustrated, even if he was joking in this particular instance. He has just one top-10 finish in the past four weeks, including back-to-back races at Bristol and Richmond outside the top 20. It was a good day for SRH, which locked out the second row with Kansas native Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez.
Starting this weekend as the points leader, Busch didn't have a banner day in qualifying. The 2015 Monster Energy Cup Series champion is in the midst of a rough patch, at least by his standards, with three consecutive finishes outside the top five.
The last time Busch made it through four straight races not in the top five was at the end of 2016 and start of 2017.
Harvick will be the favorite to win Saturday night. His victory last year and strong run in qualifying make him worthy of that distinction.
It's up to the rest of the field to prove it's capable of knocking Harvick off his perch as the 2019 season kicks into second gear.