Kevin Harvick turned a lap at 190.398 mph in Friday’s final round of knock-out qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway to earn the pole position for Sunday’s Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500.
The pole was the 18th of Harvick’s career, his second at AMS and his first since switching from Chevrolet to Ford.
Harvick said his Stewart-Haas team has had a fast start to its relationship with Ford Motor Co. The team was strong throughout Speedweeks and won the Daytona 500 with his teammate Kurt Busch.
“It’s fun to see a group of people come together and make things better,” Harvick said.
Ryan Newman, a seven-time pole winner at AMS, was second ahead of Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Brad Keselowski.
“Harvick just slipped in there and beat us,” said Newman, who set the pace in practice for the first time in months.
Three Georgians will start the 500. Dawsonville’s Chase Elliott qualified 11th, Peachtree City’s Reed Sorenson was 33rd, one spot ahead of Unadilla’s David Ragan, who smacked the wall on his qualifying lap.
Several drivers were late getting to pit road for qualifying on a day in which cars were backed up in the inspection line. Five of the 39 entrants failed to get through inspection, which was the first of the season using the latest downforce rules. Cody Ware, Michael McDowell, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Derrike Cope and Cole Whitt will start at the rear of the pack Sunday after failing to post a qualifying lap.