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Sprint Cup qualifying at Chicago canceled for weather; Harvick earns pole

Chicagoland Speedway - Day 1

JOLIET, IL - SEPTEMBER 18: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s / Budweiser Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 18, 2015 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

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Weather has forced the cancellation of Sprint Cup qualifying for the 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

The field for Sunday’s race will be set based on the series’ first practice session on Friday, which Kevin Harvick was fastest in with a speed of 188.317 mph. It will be Harvick’s second pole of the year. The first came at Phoenix International Raceway in March where Harvick scored his most recent of two wins this season.

“I’m most proud of my team, having that fast car and coming to the track and having a plan,” Harvixk said afterward. “There was a lot of emphasis on trying to lay a fast lap down with the way the weather was.”

Sunday’s pole will be Harvick’s best start at the 1.5-mile track. His previous best in 14 starts was fourth in 2006. Harvick hasn’t won at Chicago since he claimed victory in the Sprint Cup’s first two visits to the track in 2001 and ’02. Depsite finishing in the top five the past two years, his best finish since 2002 was second in 2011.

“Having the first pit stall and good track position to start is important,” Harvick said. “Having it all work out was really good for the team. I’m proud of everybody.”

Harvick, the defending Sprint Cup champion, is one of the 16 entries in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Here is how Harvick’s championship competition will start Sunday’s race which airs on NBCSN.

Positions two through four will feature Joey Logano, defending Chicago winner Brad Kesekowski and Martin Truex Jr.

“Track position is key. This first round is all about clicking off good finishes, which is what it is all about,” Logano said. “A nice start here will really start that and we are off to a nice start, starting on the front row.”

Keselowski is fine with starting third, after he won in 2014 after starting 25th.

“Track position is important here but last year we were able to pass people and get up to the front,” Keselowski said. “I feel like you can get there, it is just a matter of time. Good cars always get to the top. I feel like we have a good car though and we will start close to the front.”

Truex hasn’t started better than eighth at Chicago since 2010 and has never finished higher than ninth (twice) in nine starts.

In sixth will be Ryan Newman, giving him his best start since he rolled off seventh at the spring Texas race.

In seventh is 2014 pole-winner Kyle Busch, who has finished in the top 10 each of the last three years.

Due to Ryan Blaney not making the race due to rules, Kurt Busch will now start ninth. He will be followed by Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson (winless at Chicagoland), Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray and Carl Edwards.

Paul Menard will start 16th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 19th, Clint Bowyer 26th and Denny Hamlin will start Sunday in 29th.


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