Bowyer long prepped for new Cup success, best start at Texas

The newly re-paved Texas Motor Speedway makes fantasy preparation much harder. "You saw a number of guys get out of the groove just a little bit and they were done".

"This is one of three or four tracks that I haven't won at on the whole circuit", Harvick said.

Harvick will be the polesitter for the first time in 29 starts at Texas.

Harvick won all three rounds of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying Friday, earning his 19th career pole with a lap of 198.405 miles per hour during the final segment at the 1 1/2-mile track that was completely repaved this year.

Kevin Harvick sped to the pole for Sunday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 500, but it was the drivers who failed to post laps that were in the spotlight during qualifying Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.

"It's been an eventful day", said Harvick.

Less than five minutes into practice, Cup driver Denny Hamlin spun between Turns 1 and 2 on his second practice lap Friday. "All of past history is now out the window and it's like we are coming here for the first time".

"I've got to say thank you to the Xfinity guys for letting me run that auto this weekend", said Harvick, whose other Cup pole this season was at Atlanta, where he also ran the Xfinity Series. "I feel like the reps really allowed us to learn some things in that vehicle that I was able to apply here". Fellow Ford driver Ryan Blaney will start in the second position after posting a time of 27.270 seconds and 198.020 miles per hour.

And things did get better when the cars came back for qualifying.

Bowyer will start in the top 10 for third time in 2017 and is looking for his third consecutive top-10 finish on Sunday.

His Stewart-Haas racing teammate, Clint Bowyer, was hot on his heels finishing second in the first and second rounds.

As intermediate tracks usually result in single file racing for a majority of the show, rostering a driver that you know will run up front is important.

Series points leader Kyle Larson's vehicle was among nine of the 40 in the race didn't make it through inspection in time to make qualifying runs.

Inspection once again was a factor in determining the starting lineup.

Johnson owns six wins at the 1.5-mile track - more than any other driver past or present.

Jimmie Johnson spun during the first round but avoided hitting anything.

All 40 cars who entered will start Sunday's race, the seventh of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

  • Angelo Rivera