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Harvick the latest driver to break track record in Michigan qualifying, takes 3rd pole of year

  • NASCAR Michigan Auto Racing-1.jpg

    Driver Kevin Harvick is seen in the pit area after winning the pole for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup series Quicken Loans 400 auto race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Friday, June 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) (The Associated Press)

  • NASCAR Michigan Auto Racing-2.jpg

    Keelan Harvick waves to his father Kevin Harvick before the qualifying session for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup series Quicken Loans 400 auto race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Friday, June 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Bob Brodbeck) (The Associated Press)

Kevin Harvick posted the fastest qualifying speed in NASCAR's top series since 1987, winning the pole at Michigan International Speedway on Friday at 204.557 mph.

Harvick's pole-winning speed was the fastest since Bill Elliott set the record of 212.809 mph at Talladega Superspeedway in April 1987, but drivers have routinely broken 200 mph at Michigan since the track was repaved before the 2012 season.

Marcos Ambrose had a speed of 203.241 in 2012, the first time anyone won a pole at over 200 mph since Elliott did it before horsepower-sapping restrictor plates were introduced at Talladega and Daytona. Last August, Joey Logano pushed the track record to 203.949.

Harvick was even faster in winning his third pole of the year and ninth of his career. Points leader Jeff Gordon was second, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. was third.