DARLINGTON, S.C. — Kevin Harvick won his first career pole at Darlington Raceway on Friday as he looks to chase his first Southern 500.
Harvick came out on top in the first knockout qualifying session at NASCAR’s oldest superspeedway since the circuit made the change from single-car laps. Joey Logano, the winner Monday in Texas, was second, followed by Aric Almirola.
Almirola’s teammate, Marcos Ambrose, was fourth, followed by Brad Keselowski, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch.
Points leader Jeff Gordon, a 7-time Darlington winner, will start ninth, with Denny Hamlin rounding out the top 10.
Almirola finished first in the second of three rounds of qualifying and set a track record of 184.145 mph, shattering Kurt Busch’s mark of 181.918 set last May when the Southern 500 was held on Mother’s Day weekend. It’s the sixth time in eight races this season the qualifying record fell.
But Harvick used a higher line in the final segment to lead the field.