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Kevin Harvick won the pole for Thursday's Bakersfield 175 presented by NAPA Auto Parts at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, California. (Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images)

QUALIFYING: Kevin Harvick By A Split Second At Kern

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Kevin Harvick won the pole for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season opener Thursday, but it wasn’t easy.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver drove his No. 4 Fields Ford around the half-mile in 18.159 seconds (99.124) to claim the top spot by .004 seconds over Cole Rouse for the evening’s Bakersfield 175 presented by NAPA Auto Parts.

Rouse, driving the No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota, had a top lap of 18.163 (99.103) in the group qualifying session. Rouse had paced practice with the fastest lap earlier in the afternoon.

It was the eighth series pole for Harvick, who won the 1998 West championship and is making a return to his hometown.

David Mayhew qualified third at 18.285 (98.441), followed by Will Rodgers and Ryan Partridge.

Derek Kraus, Kody Vanderwal and a trio of Sunoco Rookie of the Race contenders Hailie Deegan, Trevor Huddleston and Reid Lanpher, rounded out the top 10.

The Bakersfield 175 is scheduled to go green at approximately 8:15 p.m. PT.