Kevin Harvick wins second pole of season
For just the second time in his Sprint Cup Series career, Kevin Harvick has won more than one pole in a season.
Harvick won the pole for Saturday night’s 5-Hour Energy 400 at Kansas Speedway by posting the fastest speeding in the third round of knockout qualifying on Friday. He actually set a track record qualifying lap in Round 2, with an average lap speed of 194.658 mph.
The pole is the eighth of Harvick’s career and second of the season. The only other season Harvick won more than one pole was in 2005, when he also won two.
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“We just need to put it all together for (Saturday) night,” said Harvick, who already has two wins this season. “It makes life a lot easier when you have pit stall No. 1.
“The weekend’s gone good and we had a really good test here a couple weeks ago.”
Joey Logano will start second, Brad Keselowski third, Carl Edwards fourth and Kyle Larson fifth. Series points leader Jeff Gordon will line up 13th.
Johnson to receive key to city: Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson will be presented with the “Key to the City” during the regularly scheduled Charlotte City Council meeting on Monday, which convenes at 7 p.m.
Johnson will be recognized by Mayor Dan Clodfelter for his outstanding philanthropic contributions to the Charlotte region and other parts of the country the Jimmie Johnson Foundation.
The Jimmie Johnson Foundation was launched in 2006 by Johnson and his wife, Chandra, and is dedicated to assisting children, families and communities in need throughout the United States.
To date, more than $6.7 million has been contributed to various organizations. The foundation currently focuses on funding K-12 public education.
Blaney looking forward to Cup debut: Ryan Blaney is making his first of two planned Cup series starts on Saturday night but he won’t be in totally unfamiliar territory.
The bulk of the Team Penske No. 12 team Blaney is working with this weekend is from Penske’s No. 22 Nationwide series team, with which Blaney, 20, has made several starts.
“They work well together and I have worked with that team a lot between this year, last year and 2012,” he said. “You wait your whole life for this opportunity and you have to make the most of it. I am fortunate that Penske was kind enough to give me this opportunity.”
Gold inducted into Hall: Veteran Motor Racing Network broadcaster Eli Gold will be inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame next week.
In addition to his role as an announcer with MRN’s NASCAR coverage, he has also been the play-by-play voice of University of Alabama football since 1988.
Three things to watch
1. Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson have all won two Cup races at Kansas.
2. Kansas native Clint Bowyer will make his 300th Cup series start this weekend. He has never won at his hometown track, however.
3. Matt Kenseth, who led the series with seven wins last season, is still looking for his first of the 2014 season and won this race a year ago.
• It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Roush Fenway Racing. The question is will it get better? We are into May and driver Carl Edwards remains unsigned beyond this season, as does driver Greg Biffle. In an interview on Wednesday night with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Claire B. Lang, Biffle acknowledged he had “other options” if he or his sponsor did not remain at Roush past this season.
Last week, Nationwide Insurance announced it would be sponsoring Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Cup series beginning next season, rather than Roush driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. It appears Roush may have some positive sponsorship news soon regarding Stenhouse, but one has to wonder about the organization’s well-being if Edwards or Biffle – or both – end up leaving.
• NASCAR’s continued fascination with night racing seems at times counterproductive. While night races seem to be generally well accepted by fans who attend in person – and a great help during the hot summer months – almost all of the night races are held on Saturday nights, which is the worst night of the week in attracting television viewers. So, what is more important to the long-term health of the sport? Pleasing fans in attendance or higher TV ratings?
Three picks for your fantasy racing team:
Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Jeff Gordon