Kevin Harvick claims Southern 500 pole at Darlington

Nigel Kinrade/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

DARLINGTON, S.C. — With a retro Busch Beer livery adorning his No. 4 Ford, Kevin Harvick put on a dominant display to claim the pole for Sunday’s Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Harvick led the field in each of the three rounds of qualifying on Saturday in a dominant performance to earn his 21st-career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole.

Following Harvick were a familiar duo – the fast Toyotas of Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch. Truex’s 177.077 mph circuit proved strong enough for second, with Busch following in a distant third with a speed of 176.682 mph.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson (176.568 mph) and Jamie McMurray (174.622 mph) rounded out the top five as the only Chevrolet drivers to make the final round. Brad Keselowski (176.107 mph), Kurt Busch (176.037 mph), Joey Logano (176.006 mph), Denny Hamlin (175.918 mph) and Erik Jones (175.403 mph) completed the top 10.

Fresh off of a newsy week that saw two of their 2018 drivers announce number changes for next season, Hendrick Motorsports struggled heavily in Saturday’s qualifying session. Each of the team’s four drivers failed to make the final round of qualifying, suffering eliminations in the second round. Jimmie Johnson (18th) led the team in the session, followed by Chase Elliott (20th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (22nd) and Kasey Kahne (23rd).

Because there were only 40 teams to contest the session, every driver qualified for Sunday’s race.

With qualifying complete, all that remains for the third edition of NASCAR’s throwback weekend is Sunday’s running of the Bojangles Southern 500.. Coverage for the event will begin at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

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