Team Penske tops qualifying, Keselowski on pole

Brad Keselowski
Brad Keselowski

Going out late in a light rain in the final round of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series knockout qualifying at Pocono Raceway, Brad Keselowski edged Team Penske teammate Joey Logano for the top starting spot in Sunday's Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400 (1 p.m. ET on FS1).

For the second straight week, Logano paced each of the first two rounds but came up just short on his money lap.

Keselowski toured the 2.5-mile triangular speedway in 49.525 seconds (181.726 mph) to edge Logano (181.400 mph) by .089 seconds. Keselowski won his first Coors Light Pole Award of the season, his first at Pocono and the 12th of his career.

For Keselowski, speed in qualifying typically translates to a strong performance in race trim. The driver of the No. 2 Ford has finished in the top 10 each of the last nine times he has won a Sprint Cup pole. Seven of those finishes were fourth or better, with two victories.

"I don't think of us as a team that is a qualifying-focused team," Keselowski said. "In general, we work on things that pay off in the race and not qualifying. So when we have speed in qualifying, that's usually a sign of how strong we are in race trim.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]"Of course, I can't confirm that today, because I didn't get any race trim practice (because of inclement weather). But I would say that's some of our tendency."

Logano knew where he lost the pole position to his teammate — in Turn 1.

"I was trying to get a little bit more in that last round, which we all did," Logano said. "I just hit the track a little bit with the splitter, and it bounced me up the race track about a lane, and I ended up running a lane up all the way through that corner.

"I know that's every bit of a tenth (of a second). I'm sure when I go back on TV or compare laps, the data together with Brad's, I'm sure that's where it all is. I felt like (Turns) 2 and 3 were really good. I felt like we made up something, but I was surprised it was even as fast as it was. That just shows the speed in the car."

Matt Kenseth (181.316 mph) qualified third, followed by Kevin Harvick (181.192 mph) and Carl Edwards (180.759 mph). Tony Stewart will start sixth and Jimmie Johnson seventh. Dale Earnhardt Jr. , who advanced to the final round of a non-restrictor-plate knockout qualifying session for the first time this season, claimed the eighth spot on the grid for Sunday's race.

Note: It was a banner day for Team Penske. Not only did the Sprint Cup cars sweep the front row at Pocono, but Penske cars will start 1-2-3 in the first race of an IndyCar doubleheader on Saturday at Belle Isle in Detroit.

Lineup

Pos. Car # Driver Manufacturer Sponsor Speed Time Behind
1 2 Brad Keselowski Ford Miller Lite 181.726 49.525 Leader
2 22 Joey Logano Ford Shell Pennzoil 181.400 49.614 0.089
3 20 Matt Kenseth Toyota Dollar General 181.316 49.637 0.112
4 4 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Jimmy John's Chevrolet SS 181.192 49.671 0.146
5 19 Carl Edwards Toyota Arris 180.759 49.79 0.265
6 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / TRACKER Boats Chevrolet SS 180.563 49.844 0.319
7 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 180.047 49.987 0.462
8 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet Axalta 179.605 50.11 0.585
9 41 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Monster Energy / Haas Automation Chevrolet SS 179.472 50.147 0.622
10 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Ground 179.451 50.153 0.628
11 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance 178.941 50.296 0.771
12 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 75th Anniversary 178.827 50.328 0.803
13 24 Chase Elliott Chevrolet NAPA Auto Parts 179.444 50.155 0.630
14 21 Ryan Blaney Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire + Auto Center 179.379 50.173 0.648
15 16 Greg Biffle Ford Ford EcoBoost Ford Fusion 179.151 50.237 0.712
16 43 Aric Almirola Ford Smithfield 178.980 50.285 0.760
17 78 Martin Truex Jr Toyota Furniture Row 178.763 50.346 0.821
18 34 Chris Buescher Ford Dockside Logistics 178.391 50.451 0.926
19 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet Dow (STEM) 178.370 50.457 0.932
20 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Richmond/Menards 178.363 50.459 0.934
21 42 Kyle Larson Chevrolet Target 178.235 50.495 0.970
22 31 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Kalahari Resorts & Conventions 178.140 50.522 0.997
23 15 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Visine 178.123 50.527 1.002
24 6 Trevor Bayne Ford Advocare Ford Fusion 178.108 50.531 1.006
25 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Ford SunnyD Ford Fusion 177.267 50.771 1.246
26 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet CESSNA 177.207 50.788 1.263
27 83 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota E.J. Wade Construction 177.204 50.789 1.264
28 95 Ty Dillon Chevrolet BVT / Blake’s Snow Shack Chevy 176.974 50.855 1.330
29 13 Casey Mears Chevrolet GEICO 176.929 50.868 1.343
30 44 Brian Scott Ford Medallion Financial 176.64 50.951 1.426
31 38 Landon Cassill Ford MDS Transport 176.45 51.006 1.481
32 47 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet Bush's Grillin Beans 176.298 51.05 1.525
33 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS 175.709 51.221 1.696
34 23 David Ragan Toyota Dr. Pepper 175.466 51.292 1.767
35 7 Regan Smith Chevrolet APC Chevrolet 174.659 51.529 2.004
36 46 Michael Annett Chevrolet All State Peterbilt 173.157 51.976 2.451
37 55 Cole Whitt Chevrolet VYDOX Plus 173.117 51.988 2.463
38 30 Josh Wise Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 169.157 53.205 3.680
39 32 Jeb Burton Ford Rocky Ridge Custom Trucks 166.664 54.001 4.476
40 98 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet Hilton Scranton & Conference Center 164.087 54.849 5.324

Leave a Reply