Harvick wins first pole in seven years

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Updated: 10/04/2013 7:29 pm

Kansas City, KS (Sports Network) - Kevin Harvick ended a 254-race pole drought in the Sprint Cup Series after edging Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in Friday's qualifying at Kansas Speedway.

Harvick, who is currently fourth in the point standings, turned a lap at 187.526 mph to claim the pole for Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas -- the fourth race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. It was Harvick's sixth career pole victory but his first since September 2006 at New Hampshire.

"Yeah, it's been forever," Harvick said after capturing his first pole in seven years. "I think the most exciting thing is having the first pit stall. We know this race is going to have a lot of pit strategy, and being able to have that (stall) is definitely worth qualifying first."

This is Harvick's 13th and final season with Richard Childress Racing before he moves over to Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2014 season.

Stenhouse, a rookie this season, earned the outside pole with a lap at 187.480 mph, which was only 0.007 seconds slower than Harvick's lap.

Jimmie Johnson, who won last weekend's race at Dover, qualified third, followed by Penske Racing drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Paul Menard, Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin completed the top-10. Johnson, Logano, Earnhardt, Kenseth and Edwards are in the Chase.

Kenseth, who has won the last two races at Kansas, holds an eight-point lead over Johnson.

The remaining Chase drivers and their starting positions include: Jeff Gordon (14th), Kasey Kahne (15th), Ryan Newman (17th), Kyle Busch (18th), Kurt Busch (19th), Clint Bowyer (22nd) and Greg Biffle (26th).

Kyle Busch trails Kenseth, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, by 12 points, while Harvick and Gordon are both 39 points out of the lead.

"The car obviously has speed, now we just have to make the right decisions to put it together for 400 miles," Harvick said.

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