NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Kevin Harvick Leads Final Sprint Cup Practice Despite Blown Engine

Following a 35-lap stint for Kevin Harvick, he found himself in a bitter-sweet position. The sweet was sitting at the top of the time sheet at 191.05 mph, but the bitter was having his Hendrick engine expire in the middle stages of Saturday’s final practice, the final time the cars will hit Atlanta Motor Speedway before the green flag drops on Sunday afternoon.

“This is a very rare occasion,” Harvick told Fox Sports 1. “This is the first one I’ve ever had (at Stewart-Haas Racing). The engine shop does a great job. I’m just glad it happened today. If you’re going to have something happen, this is a good place to have it happen because you can pass.”

The reigning Sprint Cup champion will start in the rear for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, joining premier names like Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth.

“It’ll just make more a better show,” said Harvick.

Kasey Kahne ran second quickest in his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet followed by Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, AJ Allmendinger, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray in the top 10.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ran the most laps, 65, en route to ending the session 13th quick. Pole winner for Sunday, Joey Logano finished 12th.

David Ragan, who is substituting for an injured Kyle Busch, qualified 17th during yesterday’s group qualifying and finished the final practice session in 18th. Regan Smith, substituting for Kurt Busch, ended in 20th position.

The drivers who missed out on Saturday’s qualifying session, were able to get onto the track and turn some laps. Jeff Gordon ran 187.91 mph to rank 14th quick, Matt Kenseth in 16th and Tony Stewart struggled with speed, finishing 31st fastest, respectively.

 

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