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NASCAR Atlanta 2017 qualifying results: Kevin Harvick wins pole, several teams slow to pass inspection

Harvick was fastest in an eventful qualifying session that saw several teams struggle to pass technical inspection and five teams fail outright.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500 - Practice Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

An offseason manufacturer change isn’t slowing Stewart-Haas Racing down, as Kevin Harvick sped to the pole (190.398 mph) in qualifying Friday for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Harvick’s pole-run in the second Monster Energy Cup Series race of the season follows SHR teammate Kurt Busch winning the Daytona 500 last week.

Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Brad Keselowski completed the top-five qualifiers. Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr., and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top 10.

“It says a lot about our team and organization, obviously winning the Daytona 500 last week with Kurt and having a strong Speedweeks in general,” Harvick said. “Seeing the transition to Ford has been a lot of fun and they have just done a great job. I am pretty excited about everything.

“It was a big gamble but so far it seems to be working out okay.”

Several drivers were slow to pass pre-qualifying technical inspection and weren’t able to get onto the track to post a lap until well after the 20-minute session started. Five drivers (Derrike Cope, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Michael McDowell, Cody Ware, and Cole Whitt) did not pass inspection at all and didn’t record a speed.

With Atlanta the first non- restrictor-plate race of the season, teams struggling to pass tech is a common occurrence, as teams adjust to the rules put in place over the offseason. Two years ago, 13 drivers failed to record a Round 1 time after issues getting through inspection.

NASCAR is also cracking down on violations found in pre-qualifying and race tech — as part of a procedure, it now requires teams that fail any inspection station to begin the process from the beginning. Teams previously could work on a car and resume inspection where it had failed.

Two-time defending race-winner Jimmie Johnson qualified 18th. He started 19th and 37th in the previous two Atlanta races.

David Ragan pancaked the Turn 2 wall on his lap, damaging the right rear on the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports car. The incident did not warrant a caution, and the session continued uninterrupted. Ragan qualified 34th.

“That was avoidable for sure,” Ragan said. “Our speed was really good coming up to the [start/finish] line and drove off into Turn 1 and it didn’t have the side bite on exit. I was throttled up and ran out of racetrack. Even though it seems like a minor incident there is nothing minor about touching the wall at 190 mph.”

All 39 drivers entered will start Sunday’s race.

Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 starting lineup