NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
 
                     === Harvick claims Darlington pole ===
 
 Darlington, SC (SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Harvick became the eighth different
 pole  winner in as  many Sprint Cup Series races this season after posting the
 fastest  lap in  the final round of Friday's knockout-style qualifying for the
 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
 
 Harvick, in his first season as driver of the No. 4 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas
 Racing, turned a lap at 183.479 mph for his seventh career pole in the series,
 including his first in 18 races at this 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval.
 
 This season has started with seven different winners in the first seven races.
 Harvick  won at Phoenix on March 2 but has finished outside the top-35 in four
 of  the past five events. He placed 42nd in last Monday's rain-delayed race at
 Texas due to engine failure on lap 29.
 
 "The  guys [No. 4 team] have done a great job, and they've dealt with a lot of
 adversity  over  the weeks,"  said  Harvick,  who is  now  26th  in the  point
 standings.  "I think it just shows that they've kept their focus and have done
 what  they had to  do to keep putting good race cars on the track. I'm not the
 world's greatest qualifier, but the car was that good."
 
 Harvick's best finish at Darlington is second, which came in August 2003.
 
 Joey  Logano, who  won at  Texas, grabbed  the outside  pole with  his lap  at
 183.049 mph.
 
 "This is such a fast racetrack," Logano said. "Qualifying is probably the most
 fun thing we do all weekend here. You're just so on edge. If you make a little
 mistake,  you're  in the  wall. If you  go a little  too careful, you probably
 didn't go fast enough. There's such a fine line of going fast here."
 
 Richard Petty Motorsports teammates Aric Almirola and Marcos Ambrose qualified
 third  and  fourth, respectively.  Almirola set a  new track qualifying record
 during round 2 in qualifying with a lap at 184.145 mph, which easily surpassed
 Kurt Busch's previous track record of 181.918 mph, set last year.
 
 It's the sixth time this year a new track qualifying record has been set.
 
 Brad  Keselowski grabbed  the fifth  spot,  followed by  Jamie McMurray,  Ryan
 Newman, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon and Denny Hamlin.
 
 Matt  Kenseth, who  won last year's race at Darlington, failed to advance into
 round  2  by just  0.007 seconds. Kenseth  will start 25th,  one spot ahead of
 Jimmie  Johnson,  the six-time  and  defending  Sprint Cup  champion.  Johnson
 claimed his second Southern 500 victory two years ago.
 
 Neither Kenseth nor Johnson has yet to win a race this season.
 
 David  Reutimann was the only driver who failed to qualify for Saturday's 500-
 mile  event at Darlington, which is scheduled to start shortly after 6:30 p.m.
 ET.
 
 04/11 21:18:16 ET

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