BROOKLYN, Mich. — Kevin Harvick has been fast all season.
And then there is fast.
Harvick posted a track-record average-lap speed of 204.557 mph in the final round of Fridays knockout qualifying to win the pole for Sundays Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Harvicks lap is the fastest qualifying lap recorded in NASCAR since Bill Elliott ran 212.809 mph in April 1987 at Talladega (Ala.) Superpspeedway, before NASCARs move to speed-reducing restrictor plates.
The car has been really good since we unloaded off the truck, and weve had fast cars every week, Harvick said. This is a big race track and we have a fast car and it makes the drivers job much easier.
Harvicks pole is his third this season a statement for a driver who has started out front just nine times in his 14-year career.
This format has been good for me, he said. Fast cars really solve a lot of problems.
Series points leader Jeff Gordon qualified second, Dale Earnhardt Jr. third, Aric Almirola fourth and Paul Menard fifth.
Newman left behind
Drivers occasionally ride together on each others private planes to the track, and Ryan Newman had earlier in the week asked to catch a ride to Michigan with Earnhardt.
When Newman didnt send a reminder on Thursday night that he was coming, Earnhardt forgot about him when he and his group departed Friday morning, leaving Newman stranded at the airport in Statesville.
I didnt know about it. I didnt look at my calendar, Earnhardt said. When I got up this morning, I didnt look at the clock. I just got in the shower and went downstairs and got in the car, drove to the airport and got in the plane, and I forgot about Ryan.
He should have texted me last night. I think he got a ride. That was unfortunate, for sure. It happens.
Newman said he was lucky to find someone else who had yet to leave for Michigan.
That was probably as close as Ive ever come to missing a practice, he said.
Moffitt signs deal with MWR
Brett Moffitt, 21, who finished 22nd in his Cup series debut two weeks ago at Dover, Del., has signed a multiyear contract with Michael Waltrip Racing to drive a part-time schedule for the organizations third Cup team.
What we decided to do is put him in a contract without trying to nail down a schedule at first, said Ty Norris, MWRs executive vice president. After this weekend we will probably try to run him at least three or four more times this year out of the MWR camp.
Giving him the opportunity to drive against the best in the world will tell us where he is. Youve seen a lot of young drivers come through hes as good as any of them.
Larson to be a dad
Cup series rookie Kyle Larson, 21, is a new homeowner in the Charlotte area and on Friday said he was going to be a father. He said he and his girlfriend, Katelyn Sweet, are expecting a child in December.
Me and Katelyn just found out we are having a baby, so its a really exciting time, he said. How good the racing has been going, a new house, all that and now that, so its been a lot of fun.
Sponsor extends with Hendrick
Farmers Insurance announced it would continue to sponsor at least 12 races a year on Kasey Kahnes No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet through the 2017 season. Thats down from the 22 it currently sponsors.
Kahnes current contract with HMS runs through the 2015 season.