SHR driver earns seventh pole of the 2014 season MORE: Full starting lineup " Complete standings entering Dover RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize DOVER, Del. -- Kevin Harvick is starting from the optimum position after winning the Coors Light Pole for Sunday's AAA 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway (2 p.m. ET on ESPN). The question is whether the driver known as "The Closer" can finally close the deal from the front row. Harvick covered the one-mile distance in 22.095 seconds (162.933 mph) to edge Kyle Busch (162.404 mph) for the top spot on the grid. Denny Hamlin (162.250 mph) qualified third, followed by series leader Brad Keselowski (162.140 mph), Jamie McMurray (161.936 mph) and Jeff Gordon (161.573 mph). Entering the first elimination race in the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Harvick is in little danger of missing the cut, having finished fifth and third in the first two Chase events. But the Coors Light pole award at the Monster Mile is Harvick's seventh of the season, and only once this year, at Darlington in April, has he won a race from the top starting spot. The five-month absence from Victory Lane, however, isn't weighing on Harvick . "Not at all," said Harvick , who won his first pole at Dover and the 13th of his career. "I've been around this deal way too long to complain about top-five finishes. There are a lot of circumstances that go into winning a race at a lot of these places, and you just have to keep knocking on that door. "And then you'll win some that you shouldn't win, and a lot of times you don't win the ones that you think you should have won, and you win the ones that you don't think you should have won. So you just keep finishing in the top five or top three, and everything else will fall into place." Busch is solidly inside the Chase bubble, but Hamlin is 13th after last week's star-crossed 37th-place run at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and in danger of elimination coming to a track where he expects to excel. "I expected to come here and contend for a pole and, really, contend for a win this weekend," Hamlin said. "No matter what happened last weekend, it didn't affect my mind-set as far as what my expectations were when I got to this race track. "There's a little bit more pressure to perform this weekend, so we hope things fall our way." A little more pressure? How about a lot? "This will be the hardest race that I'll definitely ever drive -- 400 miles," Hamlin acknowledged. "I'm just going to be as aggressive as I can, but not put myself in a bad position. This is the most important race of my career, because it's the most significant of my career at this point. "We've got to get the job done, and I'm going to do my part to make sure we're successful." Other Chase drivers on the outside of the bubble qualified as follows: Greg Biffle , 27th; Kurt Busch , 22nd; and Aric Almirola , 21st. Besides Harvick , Busch, Hamlin, Keselowski and Gordon, the remaining top-12 Chase drivers will start from the following positions: Jimmie Johnson , eighth; Kasey Kahne , 12th; Matt Kenseth , 14th; Joey Logano , 16th; Carl Edwards , 18th; Ryan Newman , 20th; and AJ Allmendinger , 28th. Following Sunday's race, 12 Chase drivers will advance for the first time to the Contender Round of NASCAR's revamped 10-race playoffs. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView Where the Chase drivers will start Driver Starting spot Brad Keselowski 4 Joey Logano 16 Kevin Harvick 1 Jimmie Johnson 8 Kyle Busch 2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 25 Jeff Gordon 6 Matt Kenseth 14 Carl Edwards 18 AJ Allmendinger 28 Kasey Kahne 12 Ryan Newman 20 Denny Hamlin 3 Greg Biffle 27 Kurt Busch 22 Aric Almirola 21
A caution comes out after Kevin Harvick blows a tire while leading the race at Dover International Speedway.
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Kevin Harvick discusses the No. 4 team and their ability to qualify each weekend, and talks about earning the prime pit stall at Dover International Speedway for the AAA 400.
Contending driver has speed but lacks recent wins
Change between No. 4, No. 14 teams effective immediately RELATED: Play Perfect Chase Grid Challenge and Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Stewart-Haas Racing officials announced major changes to the pit crew of the organization's No. 4 Chevrolet with driver Kevin Harvick as the team prepares for this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. According to SHR officials, Harvick will be paired with the over-the-wall crew previously teamed with three-time champion and SHR co-owner Tony Stewart . Stewart, who did not qualify for the Chase, will compete in the season's final 10 races with what is now Harvick's former crew. "We made this change in the best interests of the entire organization," SHR Vice President of Competition Greg Zipadelli said. "Our primary goal is to win races and championships, and this pit crew swap provides championship experience to the No. 4 team and continued race-winning experience to the No. 14 team." With the 10-race Chase kicking off this weekend as Chicagoland Speedway hosts the MyAFibStory.com 400 (ESPN, 2 p.m. ET), Harvick could be in the best position to capture his first Sprint Cup title. Mechanical issues that kept the 38-year-old outside the top 20 in points through the first eight races have been addressed and his team continues to bring one of the fastest cars to the track each weekend. If there has been a soft spot in the system, it might be found on pit road. Harvick raced his way into the lead twice during the early stages of Saturday night's race at Richmond, only to lose the position during subsequent pit stops. "I can't fix them, but it's probably the biggest thing that we have to fix in order to contend for the championship," he said afterward. "I think our cars are as fast as they need to be. The guys do a great job of bringing fast cars every week. It's just one mistake after another every week on pit road." Harvick is making his eighth Chase appearance and his fifth in a row. His best points finish has been third, which he accomplished in 2010, '11 and '13 while competing for Richard Childress Racing . He enters this year's Chase seeded sixth among the 16 drivers in the field. He was the first to win multiple races this season in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series , making him the first to all but officially lock himself into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. But Harvick's No. 4 Chevrolet hasn't been to Victory Lane since his victory at Darlington Raceway in April. Not that the team hasn’t been close. Harvick has finished second five times through this year's first 26 races, the most of any driver. He also was the runner-up in the Sprint All-Star Race, a non-points event. NASCAR measures how long teams spend on pit road during each race, and race winners typically are among the top five in the least amount of time. When he won at Phoenix, Harvick spent less time on pit road than any of the 43 drivers in the field. At Darlington, his total time was sixth best. Sometimes a loss of track position on pit road, whether due to a driver or crew-induced penalty or simply a slow stop, can be overcome on the race track. Often, however, it creates a frustrating scenario in which a driver has to maneuver around other cars he or she had already worked around previously, or it puts the driver in greater danger of getting swept up in someone else's troubles. Such was the case for Harvick earlier this year at Sonoma Raceway . After leading twice for 23 laps, a slow stop in the second half of the race dropped him outside the top 10. A chain-reaction incident at Lap 82 collected the No. 4 entry, and Harvick was left to hobble home with a 20th-place finish. He was dominant at Atlanta, leading 195 of 335 laps, but repeatedly lost the lead on pit road. And although he rolls into this weekend's race on the heels of a fifth-place finish at Richmond, he said at Richmond that the problems on pit road needed to be addressed before the Chase got under way. "Hopefully they have a plan as to what they think they need to do in the shop with the two teams in the Chase, but that's not my department," he said. Now, it seems, that plan has been put into place. The No. 4 team pit crew will now be: Front Tire Changer: Ira Jo Hussey " Hometown: Manchester, New Hampshire Front Tire Carrier: Todd Drakulich " Hometown: Tucson, Arizona Jackman: Mike Casto " Hometown: Proctor, West Virginia Rear Tire Changer: Daniel Smith " Hometown: Concord, North Carolina Rear Tire Carrier: Mike Morneau " Hometown: Oxford, Maine All were members Stewart’s pit crew when he captured the 2011 Sprint Cup championship. Moving over to the No. 14 team: Front Tire Changer: Bryan Jacobsen " Hometown: Honesdale, Pennsylvania Front Tire Carrier: Brett Morrell " Hometown: Windham, Maine Rear Tire Changer: Jonathan Sherman " Hometown: Monroe, Louisiana Jackman: Getty Cavitt, Jr. " Hometown: Owensboro, Kentucky Rear Tire Carrier: Josh Sobecki " Hometown: New Kensington, Pennsylvania Harvick will be joined in the Chase by SHR teammate Kurt Busch , the 2004 Sprint Cup champion and a winner at Martinsville Speedway earlier this year. In addition to Stewart, SHR's Danica Patrick also failed to qualify for the 16-driver postseason field. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: NASCAR Chase Grid games WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski talk about their top-ten finishes despite battling adversity throughout the day.
Kevin Harvick talks about the strategy that helped him get the win at Chicagoland Speedway.