LAS VEGAS (AP) Clint Bowyer has won just the third pole of his Cup career in time to open NASCAR's playoffs.
Bowyer earned the top starting spot in Sunday's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the opening event in NASCAR's 10 race push to crown the Cup Series championship. Bowyer had to claw his way into the 16-driver field, then admittedly surprised even himself with his fast qualifying run.
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver had gone 431 starts between pole-winning runs.
''I did not see this coming. This is a surprise to me,'' he said. ''If I just sat on the pole, that car is obviously a bullet.''
The entire Stewart-Haas Racing lineup was best of Saturday qualifying as the four Fords swept the front two rows.
Daniel Suarez qualified second, followed by Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola. Suarez is the only SHR driver not in the playoff field.
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