Chase Elliott tops Kevin Harvick for Cup pole at Phoenix

Jim Utter

Elliott was fastest in Friday’s final practice and on Saturday his average lap speed of 138.116 mph in qualifying was good enough to win the pole for Sunday’s FanShield 500.

The pole is the ninth of Elliott’s career and first at Phoenix Raceway.

“The line through (Turns) 1 and 2 was a lot different today. Kevin (Harvick) kind of made the top (lane) work and after everyone saw that, they moved up,” Elliott said. “It’s great to get a pole.

“It’s always a good thing when you can put down a fast lap. Hopefully tomorrow goes good. That’s always the challenge. We’ll see and I’m looking forward to it.”

Harvick, who has nine career wins at Phoenix, ended up second (137.878 mph) and Denny Hamlin was third (137.841 mph). Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney completed the top-five.

Rounding out the top-10 starters are Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Alex Bowman, Matt DiBenedetto and Kyle Busch.

Austin Dillon was forced to abort his initial qualifying run when he locked up the tires on his No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in Turn 3. He turned his car around and restarted his qualifying attempt but ended up 30th-fastest.

Both Martin Truex Jr. and John Hunter Nemechek will start from the rear in Sunday’s race regardless of where they qualified – Truex for making an engine change and Nemechek for changing radiators.

Cla # Driver   Manufacturer Time Gap Mph
1 9 United States Chase Elliott   Chevrolet 26.065   138.116
2 4 United States Kevin Harvick   Ford 26.110 0.045 137.878
3 11 United States Denny Hamlin   Toyota 26.117 0.052 137.841
4 42 United States Kyle Larson   Chevrolet 26.162 0.097 137.604
5 12 United States Ryan Blaney   Ford 26.190 0.125 137.457
6 10 United States Aric Almirola   Ford 26.190 0.125 137.457
7 1 United States Kurt Busch   Chevrolet 26.197 0.132 137.420
8 88 United States Alex Bowman   Chevrolet 26.216 0.151 137.321
9 21 United States Matt DiBenedetto   Ford 26.222 0.157 137.289
10 18 United States Kyle Busch   Toyota 26.230 0.165 137.247
11 20 United States Erik Jones   Toyota 26.257 0.192 137.106
12 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.   Toyota 26.278 0.213 136.997
13 22 United States Joey Logano   Ford 26.287 0.222 136.950
14 2 United States Brad Keselowski   Ford 26.289 0.224 136.939
15 95 United States Christopher Bell   Toyota 26.295 0.230 136.908
16 41 United States Cole Custer   Ford 26.339 0.274 136.679
17 24 United States William Byron   Chevrolet 26.364 0.299 136.550
18 14 United States Clint Bowyer   Ford 26.388 0.323 136.426
19 47 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.   Chevrolet 26.448 0.383 136.116
20 37 United States Ryan Preece   Chevrolet 26.449 0.384 136.111
21 48 United States Jimmie Johnson   Chevrolet 26.481 0.416 135.947
22 34 United States Michael McDowell   Ford 26.502 0.437 135.839
23 17 United States Chris Buescher   Ford 26.512 0.447 135.788
24 6 United States Ross Chastain   Ford 26.527 0.462 135.711
25 13 United States Ty Dillon   Chevrolet 26.528 0.463 135.706
26 38 United States John Hunter Nemechek   Ford 26.541 0.476 135.639
27 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.   Chevrolet 26.635 0.570 135.161
28 32 United States Corey Lajoie   Ford 26.668 0.603 134.993
29 8 United States Tyler Reddick   Chevrolet 26.693 0.628 134.867
30 3 United States Austin Dillon   Chevrolet 26.772 0.707 134.469
31 96 Mexico Daniel Suarez   Toyota 26.873 0.808 133.963
32 15 United States Brennan Poole   Chevrolet 26.909 0.844 133.784
33 52 United States J.J. Yeley   Ford 27.169 1.104 132.504
34 00 United States Quin Houff   Chevrolet 27.211 1.146 132.299
35 77 United States Reed Sorenson   Chevrolet 27.395 1.330 131.411
36 51 United States Garrett Smithley   Chevrolet 27.464 1.399 131.081
37 53 United States Joey Gase   Chevrolet 27.533 1.468 130.752
38 66 United States Timmy Hill   Toyota 27.584 1.519 130.510