June 21, 2021

by a NASCAR fanatic - not affiliated with NASCAR

FORT WORTH, Texas — Kevin Harvick swept all three rounds of Friday qualifying to claim the pole for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Harvick’s top lap of 198.405 miles per hour on the newly repaved, reconfigured 1.5-mile track in the final round was good enough for his 19th career pole, but his first in 29 tries at TMS. It also was his second pole of the season.

Ryan Blaney was second-fastest in the final round, with Clint Bowyer third. Harvick also was fastest in the first two rounds of qualifying, with Bowyer second-fastest in each.

There was plenty of drama in the opening session of the three-round qualifying.

Jimmie Johnson posted a ninth-fastest lap plenty quick enough to advance out of the first round. But on his cool-down lap he lost control of his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and went for a long slide that flat-spotted his tires, preventing him from participating in the final two sessions. He’ll roll off in 24th at the start Sunday.

Meanwhile, a number of cars thought to be possible contenders for the win – including the No. 88 Hendrick Chevy of Dale Earnhardt Jr., the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Kyle Busch, the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy of Kyle Larson, and the No. 5 Hendrick Chevy of Kasey Kahne – did not clear pre-qualifying inspection in time to compete for the pole at all.

Nine cars in all did not make it through inspection in time to qualify, including the backup cars of Chase Elliott and Erik Jones — who had to go to those after wrecking their primary cars in Friday’s lone practice session.

All those who did not clear inspection in time will have to start in the rear of the field on Sunday, based on car owner points heading into the weekend.

“I ain’t too worried about it,” said Earnhardt, who will start 37th. “This race is pretty long. … I don’t know what was wrong with our car going through tech, but if you don’t make it, you don’t make it.”

For complete qualifying results, click here.

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