Was it possible for Harvick to go faster the second time around?
Not necessarily. He was a little more than a mile per hour slower than his record-setting pace.
Was it possible for him to go any faster on a third try?
Yes. Fast enough to set another top-speed mark.
Harvick set a track qualifying record of 204.557 miles an hour Friday at
"Obviously, it was a really fast couple laps, but my car's been really good since we unloaded it off the truck, and these guys put fast cars on the track every week," said Harvick, who qualified ahead of
Harvick's pole win was a byproduct of
"We just have to put the car in the top 24 on the first run, and then we can really go at it and see what it brings, but it's exciting," said
In the first qualifying session, Harvick set a qualifying-lap record of 203.995 miles an hour.
With the field pared to 24 drivers for the second qualifying session, Harvick had a lap speed of 202.988 miles an hour, then completed the 12-driver final qualifying session with a blistering lap.
Speed in qualifying wasn't isolated to Harvick, one of 21 drivers who had lap speeds of at least 200 miles an hour. Also in that group?
"The speeds are up because the cars are comfortable," Keselowski said. "The two are connected together. The cars may have more rear downforce, considerably more than they've ever had, along with more front downforce. This track used to be notorious, once they repaved it, for being real loose in Turn 3, which is more of a flatter entry corner and you don't have the banking to support you. This year, we're entering Turn 3 five to 10 miles faster."
"This format obviously has been good for me," Harvick said. "A fast car allows you to do that. A fast car really solves a lot of problems. We just have to keep at it."
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