Kevin Harvick may already have three wins this season, but he set his first pole on Saturday.
Harvick, the last car that made a try on lap 2, drove an average speed of 194.448 mph Sunday GEICO 500 at Talladega (Alabama) Superspeedway. He was heading his Stewart-Haas Racing team-mate Kurt Busch (194,082 mph), who dropped out just before Harvick.
Martin Truex Jr. finished third, Denny Hamlin finished fourth and Chase Elliott completed the top five.
The Pole is Harvick's first this season, the second in Talladega and the 22nd in his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.
"I'm really proud of our team and the first thing I want to say is a big thank you to Roush Yates Engines and the people working on this car," said Harvick. "They are so committed to such things.
" We have never really qualified so well. Obviously, they made some big improvements out of season, and then there was the throttle plate change overnight. With all that has happened, it is just a big compliment to this team.
"Start in front will definitely be good."
The Top 1
Harvick prevailed in the first round of qualifying but the right way there.
Harvick was the only driver to surpass the 194 mph barrier with an average speed of 194,275 mph. However, he had to abandon his original qualification attempt when his team-mate Aric Almirola lost a tire and turned in his attempt.
Harvick crew chief Rodney Childers believed the driver was overrun with Almirola's incident and number four. The team received NASCAR's permission to return to pit road and change tires.
"It was a unique position we were put in," said Harvick. "I'm really very proud of everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing, this car is fast."
Kurt Busch, the 23rd rider out, was the only one to finish 193 mph in the session (193,921 mph) second fastest. Truex was third fastest (192.707 mph). Jones finished fourth and Elliott completed the top five.
"I think we are trying very hard and we can go a bit faster in the second round, so if we go faster, I think everyone will do it," Elliott said. "I did not write as much as I wanted yesterday, we come to these places, and nobody wants to make a draft."
Hamlin, Logano, Keselowski, Stenhouse, Bowyer, Bowman and Ragan also moved into the final round in front.
Among those who did not make it to the final round was Kyle Busch, who wants to win his fourth race in a row for the first time in his career. Busch Turns 19.
Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Daniel Suarez, and Ty Dillon will all start on the Sunday race from the back of the field, no matter where they qualify.
All four were involved in an accident on Friday, which was triggered when McMurray had a left rear tire and turned in front of Newman, and McMurray's car rose above Newmans.
McMurray's Chevrolet No. 1 ended up rolling several times before he came to rest on all four tires.
"I'm a bit sore somehow everywhere," said McMurray. "My fundus has probably hurt the most when I woke up."
Almirola dropped a tire on the right during his qualifying attempt and landed on lap 1. He realized that a problem was developing as best he could to accelerate his No. 10 Ford on his hot lap.
"Something in the rear broke down," said Almirola after the incident over his team radio.