With Texas changes, 6-time winner not even a NASCAR favorite

Apr 09, 2017, 02:00

Kevin Harvick quickly got up to speed on the new pavement at Texas Motor Speedway, while some top drivers never made on the track for qualifying.

"I gotta say thank you to the XFINITY guys for letting me run that vehicle this weekend", Harvick said.

Even for guys like Johnson, who will make his 28th start Sunday at the Texas track that was completely repaved earlier this year for the first time since 2001.

Harvick swept all three qualifying rounds to score his second pole of the season, with his 198.405 miles per hour lap besting Ryan Blaney (198.020 mph) in the final session.

The Texas Motor Speedway O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 will draw more than 150,000 fans to the race track this weekend.

Harvick's final round was adventurous to say the least.

Four drivers had issues during practice, beginning with Denny Hamlin who spun out in Turns 1 and 2 on his second practice lap.

"I've got to say thank you to the Xfinity guys for letting me run that auto this weekend", said Harvick, whose other Cup pole this season was at Atlanta, where he also ran the Xfinity Series. "We worked rubber into the track as much as we could, but nothing simulates the real thing".

This was the first time NASCAR had been back to the "No Limit, Texas" track since its $5 million dollar facelift. "We got better each round which is encouraging". The team will change tires for Sunday's race and Johnson will have to start at the rear of the field.

"That's a good day for all of us at Stewart-Haas", Bowyer said. To come to this racetrack, you know it's a repave, you know it's gonna be slick.

Nine drivers did not attempt a qualifying lap due to their cars not making it through inspection before time expired in the first round.

Inspection once again was a factor in determining the starting lineup.

The six-time Texas victor spun during the first round of qualifying, and will officially start 24th on Sunday, but will be forced to the rear of the field for having to change tires.

"I thought I had it saved and then I got into all those marbles and kept getting closer and closer to the wall and spun".

Martin Truex Jr. stands by his vehicle on pit road during qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, Friday, April 7, 2017.

TMS will continue to do its best to work more rubber into the track, and are expected to run its "Texas Tire Monster" after the Xfinity Series race on Saturday.