Logano wins pole at Martinsville

Joey Logano

For last year's spring race at Martinsville Speedway, Joey Logano set a track record during qualifying but didn't win the pole.

On Friday at the paper-clip-shaped track, Logano reversed the outcome. Though he failed to match his record of 100.201 mph, he saved his best lap for the final round of knockout qualifying in claiming the top starting spot for Sunday's STP 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race (1 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1).

Trailing Logano in the 27th starting position will be Chase Elliott, the heir apparent to Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, who qualified for his first Cup race, one of five starts he plans to make this year.

Logano covered the 0.526-mile distance in 19.232 seconds (98.461 mph) to win the 10th Coors Light Pole Award of his career, his second of the season and his first at Martinsville. Logano's Team Penske Ford edged the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Ryan Newman (98.328 mph) for the right to lead the field to the green flag in the sixth Sprint Cup race of the year.

Martin Truex Jr., who has a string of five straight top 10s to start the season, qualified third at 98.048 mph, followed by Gordon (97.613 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (97.583 mph).

Logano went out late in the second round and put just two laps on his tires in posting the eighth fastest time and advancing to the final round. Keeping laps off his tires was the factor Logano thought was decisive in winning the pole.

"I'm pretty sure we ran less laps than anybody going into the third round," said Logano, who ran five laps combined in the first two rounds, a number matched by Gordon. "That was the advantage that we had going for us, that we were able to see how many cars had run and know what we had to run to get into the next round.

"So in the second round, all we had to make was two laps, and we felt pretty confident about where we were. Keeping those laps off the tires was good."

As well as Logano has run in Martinsville time trials in the past, he was elated to add a pole to his list of accomplishments.

"It feels great to finally get the pole here. We've been close so many times," he said. "Throughout my career, I feel like we've always qualified well here but I've never been able to get a pole. I caught pretty much of a hard time about getting the track record here but not getting the pole here, so to have a pole to back it up feels great."

If Logano was delighted, Elliott was relieved that he had made the field—and that rain that had been forecast for the area failed to materialize in the afternoon.

"That was goal number one, to get in," Elliott said. "So it's definitely a big relief for us. We're excited. It's weird being excited about qualifying, wherever we qualified, 27th, but we're in the show, our first Sprint Cup Series race with (sponsor) NAPA on board. We're excited for Sunday."

Brendan Gaughan and Ron Hornaday Jr. failed to make the 43-car field.

Lineup

Pos. No. Driver Sponsor Speed Time Behind
1 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil 98.461 19.232 Leader
2 31 Ryan Newman Quicken Loans 98.328 19.258 –0.026
3 78 Martin Truex Jr Furniture Row/Visser Precision 98.048 19.313 –0.081
4 24 Jeff Gordon Axalta 97.613 19.399 –0.167
5 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's 97.583 19.405 –0.173
6 14 Tony Stewart Code 3 Associates / Mobil 1 97.468 19.428 –0.196
7 42 Kyle Larson Target 97.463 19.429 –0.197
8 20 Matt Kenseth Dollar General 97.392 19.443 –0.211
9 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance 97.282 19.465 –0.233
10 47 AJ Allmendinger Bush's Beans 97.262 19.469 –0.237
11 19 Carl Edwards Arris 97.177 19.486 –0.254
12 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite 97.038 19.514 –0.282
13 27 Paul Menard Pittsburgh Paints / Menards 97.387 19.444 –0.212
14 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Diet Mountain Dew 97.302 19.461 –0.229
15 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express 97.267 19.468 –0.236
16 10 Danica Patrick TaxAct 97.267 19.468 –0.236
17 4 Kevin Harvick Budweiser / Jimmy John's 97.257 19.470 –0.238
18 43 Aric Almirola STP 97.237 19.474 –0.242
19 1 Jamie McMurray CESSNA 97.222 19.477 –0.245
20 18 David Ragan M&M's Crispy 96.800 19.562 –0.330
21 51 Justin Allgaier Fraternal Order of Eagles / Switch Hitch 96.790 19.564 –0.332
22 3 Austin Dillon Cheerios 96.760 19.570 –0.338
23 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Fastenal Ford Fusion 96.558 19.611 –0.379
24 13 Casey Mears No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS 97.312 19.459 –0.227
25 16 Greg Biffle Ortho Ford Fusion 96.983 19.525 –0.293
26 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation 96.944 19.533 –0.301
27 25 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts 96.919 19.538 –0.306
28 46 Michael Annett Pilot Flying J 96.899 19.542 –0.310
29 38 David Gilliland Love's Travel Stops 96.666 19.589 –0.357
30 15 Clint Bowyer 5-Hour Energy 96.617 19.599 –0.367
31 98 Josh Wise Phil Parsons Racing 96.607 19.601 –0.369
32 26 Jeb Burton Maxim.com 96.494 19.624 –0.392
33 55 Brett Moffitt Aaron's Dream Machine 96.357 19.652 –0.420
34 40 Landon Cassill Newtown Building Supplies 96.298 19.664 –0.432
35 34 Chris Buescher A&W All American Food 96.259 19.672 –0.440
36 6 Trevor Bayne Advocare Ford Fusion 96.254 19.673 –0.441
37 35 Cole Whitt TBD 96.058 19.713 –0.481
38 9 Sam Hornish Jr Medallion Bank/Mercury Marine 96.024 19.720 –0.488
39 7 Alex Bowman Nikko RC/Toy State Car 95.908 19.744 –0.512
40 32 Mike Bliss CorvetteParts.net 95.694 19.788 –0.556
41 33 Alex Kennedy Dream Factory 95.295 19.871 –0.639
42 23 J.J. Yeley American Cancer Society 95.204 19.890 –0.658
43 83 Matt DiBenedetto Dr. Pepper 94.562 20.025 –0.793

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