Full practice and qualifying results from Kansas
Kevin Harvick claimed his second pole position of 2014 after beating Joey Logano to the top spot by 0.049s with a lap of 27.799s (194.252mph), a new track qualifying record on the 1.5-mile tri-oval.
It's the sixth track so far this season on which the Cup drivers have succeeded in setting a new record (the others being to set a new qualifying track record joining Phoenix, Las Vegas, Bristol, Martinsville and Darlington.) It's Harvick's eight career pole in the Cup championship in 477 starts, and his second in 17 races at Kansas.
"The pole is great, these guys have done a great job for qualifying," said Harvick. "It makes life a lot easier when you can have pit stall one. Hopefully we can have a good night tomorrow night, but the weekend has gone good we had a great test here a few weeks ago and everything has carried right over.
"My qualifying record hasn't been great, but they have really done a good job at getting our qualifying stuff situated after the first four or five weeks to the season to come here and sit on the pole," he added.
"I thought I had screwed it up," he admitted. "I never got through three and four like one and two. I felt like I got through one and two all three laps pretty good, but three and four was a little bit too tight. I got a little bit concerned, but all in all it worked out okay."
After a temporary glitch last weekend at Talladega which saw him fail to make the final 12 for the first time this season, Joey Logano was back on form at Kansas and put the #22 Penske Ford on the front row alongside Harvick, narrowly missing out by half a tenth of a second.
"We have another good AAA Fusion this weekend," said Logano. "We were able to pick up speed every time ... We made the right adjustments and I feel like my car, through one and two on the third session was really good.
"I talked about in the second session how I could drive in a car length deeper and apparently I couldn't, that blew up in my face," he admitted. "I got tight and wasn't able to hold the speed to get the pole. Overall it is a good starting spot and we are qualifying well. If you count out the restrictor plate stuff we are still the only car to make it through every session and we are proud of that and ready to go for another win."
Logano's team mate Brad Keselowski was also looking fast around Kansas and logged the third fastest time in the pole shootout round, putting him on the second row next to Roush Fenway Racing's Carl Edwards.
"I didn't think we were very fast for much of the day and our first run we weren't but this knockout qualifying gives us an opportunity to work on it and get better and that is what we did with our second, third and fourth runs," Keselowski explained. "We got it better each time and climbed up the ladder. I think we were probably 35th or 40th our first run and 15th on our second and somewhere around ninth on our third. We were third on our fourth and that is great progress. That is how this format works. I am very proud of our team and their effort to get better every time.”
Chip Ganassi Racing's talented rookie will start from fifth place alongside Harvick's team mate Kurt Busch, while row four will consist of Richard Childress Racing's Ryan Newman alongside his old boss and team mate Tony Stewart.
Completing a strong qualifying for SHR which saw all four of their cars make it through to the pole shootout round, Danica Patrick will line up in ninth place with RFR's Greg Biffle on the outside in tenth.
"Our whole camp was stellar today and that's definitely a tribute to everybody at SHR," said Patrick. "It was a great effort across the board, and I'm so proud of all our guys.
"I think for me, the biggest thing has been listening to my teammates – Kevin, Kurt and Tony - and taking their advice," she continued. "We had our meeting before qualifying, and I think that was a big help. I learn a lot when I talk to them, and I took what they said today and used it on my laps and I think it showed. It was definitely a good day."
Jamie McMurray (Ganassi) and Aric Almirola (Richard Petty Motorsport) rounded out the line-up for the top 12, while Jeff Gordon just missed out on transferring to the final round after posting the 13th fastest time in round two. He'll start from row seven alongside his Hendrick Motorsport team mate and fellow multiple Cup champion Jimmie Johnson in 14th.
Having a less successful time of it in qualifying was another Hendrick driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. who will start from 22nd place, just ahead of Clint Bowyer (Michael Waltrip Racing) and Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing). Busch had earlier won pole position at Kansas in the Camping World Truck Series qualifying session but couldn't repeat that form in the Cup session, although he was still fastest of the JGR stable with Matt Kenseth starting from 28th and Denny Hamlin from 30th.
Dave Blaney was the only far to fail to qualify for the 43-car grid, meaning that he will have to watch on from the sidelines on Saturday evening as his son Ryan takes the green flag in 21st position.
"It feels good to make it, it's a shame my dad couldn't make it," admitted Ryan. "I felt we had a good car the first session and it got a little cooler going into the second session and the track picked up a little bit and got a little bit tight. We stayed about the same speed, everyone just got faster.
"We just needed to free it up a little more in that second session," he mused. "I think we have a pretty good race car for tomorrow. Hopefully we can execute tomorrow and run all 400 miles. I think we will have a pretty good race."
Full practice and qualifying results from Kansas