Harvick tops Gordon for Bristol pole

Bristol, TN (SportsNetwork.com) – Kevin Harvick claimed the pole for Saturday
night’s IRWIN Tools Night Race after edging Jeff Gordon in qualifying at
Bristol Motor Speedway.

Harvick, who’s in his first season as driver of the No. 4 Chevrolet for
Stewart-Haas Racing, turned a lap at 131.362 mph during the second and final
round of Friday’s qualifying here. He now has a Sprint Cup Series-leading five
poles this season and 11 for his career. It was also his first pole at this
0.533-mile, high-banked oval.

“It feels great,” Harvick said. “Just have to thank everybody on our Jimmy
John’s [sponsor] team for really everything they do every week for qualifying,
and race cars that they bring to the racetrack are just incredibly fast. They
have helped improve my qualifying record a tremendous amount. Today was no

Harvick has one Sprint Cup victory at Bristol, which occurred in April 2005
when he drove for Richard Childress Racing.

The race winner at Bristol has started from the pole 22 times, which is more
than any other starting position here. However, the last driver to win from
the pole at this track is Carl Edwards in August 2008.

“Track position is definitely as important as it is anywhere here with the
current groove and where you are running,” Harvick added. “I felt good about
our car during practice and just have to stay in there all night and do the
best we can.”

Gordon, who started on the pole and won last Sunday’s race at Michigan, posted
a lap at 131.290 mph, which was only 0.008 seconds behind Harvick.

“We are just so thrilled to get a front row start here at Bristol,” Gordon
said. “That means a lot. I know it wasn’t a pole. Kevin put up a great lap. I
thought I had a really good lap that first run out. I came on the radio and
said, ‘That is all I got.’ When you go do that and the car is well balanced
and you get a good lap you know that it’s up to somebody else to just take a
little more risk and maybe get it and Kevin did.”

Edwards, who won the spring race at Bristol in March, qualified third, while
Kyle Busch took the fourth spot. Joey Logano was fifth and Jimmie Johnson

Finishing seventh through 12th in the final round of knockout qualifying were:
Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Brad Keselowski, Marcos Ambrose, Ryan Newman and
Kasey Kahne.

Notable drivers and their starting positions include: Denny Hamlin (13th),
Clint Bowyer (14th), Matt Kenseth (16th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (20th), Danica
Patrick (24th), rookie Austin Dillon (26th) and rookie Kyle Larson (40th).
Kenseth won the night race at Bristol last year.

Jeff Burton, who is substituting for Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas
Racing Chevrolet for the second race in a row, qualified 25th.

All 43 drivers who attempted qualifying made the starting field for this 500-
lap race.