HAMPTON, Ga. — Kevin Harvick took yet another pole, this time with a big assist from Tony Stewart in the team owner's return to the track after the sprint car he was driving struck and killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. Aug. 9.
Harvick, in his first season with Stewart-Haas Racing, turned a fast lap of 190.398 mph Friday night to win the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
It was Harvick's series-leading sixth pole of the season. He was the top qualifier for the second straight week after also topping qualifying for the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Despite his success in qualifying this season, Harvick said a poor first round of qualifying for the Oral-B USA 500 left him in need of guidance from Stewart, the co-owner of the team. "The first run wasn't very good due to the driver not doing a good job," Harvick said.
Stewart, who qualified 12th.
IndyCar: Will Power struggled in qualifying for the season finale in Fontana, Calif., and the series leader will start 21st when he chases his first championship tonight. Power had the second-worst performance in qualifying. Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves won the pole. Castroneves turned a lap with an average speed of 218.540 mph. Castroneves is second in points, 51 behind Power. Both drivers are attempting to win their first IndyCar title.
NHRA: Tony Schumacher raced to the Top Fuel qualifying lead in the U.S. Nationals with a run of 3.777 seconds at 322.65 mph in Clermont, Ind. Del Worsham topped the Funny Car field in the regular-season finale, points leader Jason Line took the Pro Stock lead, and Eddie Krawiec was the fastest in Pro Stock Motorcycle.