Logano Captures Pole For Pocono Cup Race
Joey Logano won the pole on Saturday for Sunday’s Pocono 400 Sprint Cup Race at Pocono Raceway and smashed the track record in the process.
Logano’s fast lap was at 179.598 mph in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and it blew away the old mark of 172.553 posted by Kasey Kahne in 2004.
In all, 36 drivers surpassed Kahne’s old record in qualifying. The reason, of course, being the smooth new track surface at Pocono.
The pole was his first of the year and first since he won the pole for last year’s fall race at the 2.5-mile Pocono triangle. The pole was the fourth of Logano’s career in Cup.
He said track conditions kept him from laying down a faster lap.
“The track was really dirty and you saw the first few cars go out in turn one and one of the ARCA cars must have blown up in the practice,” Logano, looking for a second career victory this weekend, said. “They just couldn’t get the track clean enough. I went down into (Turn) 1 and barreled in there and got loose and went up the race track, so I feel like I left a couple tenths (of a second) out there.
“We purposely wanted to go out pretty early, because it was just going to keep getting hotter throughout the day, but it’s so overcast I don’t think with the rain and wind it kind of didn’t go as planned. Either way, we have a really fast car that is capable of winning this thing – just got to be smart with it.”
Second fast in the session on the newly paved track was Carl Edwards of Roush Fenway Racing. Edwards turned a lap at 178.866 mph.
“I drove down in the corner and it was just a little slicker than I thought it was going to be and I got out of the groove a little bit on exit,” Edwards said. “I just ran out of guts and had to lift a little off of one, and then I totally messed up the tunnel, but I’ve got a great race car. My guys did a really good job, but, admittedly, it’s very difficult to practice yesterday and run a really good lap and then come back 24 hours later and run that perfect lap again. I think a couple guys are gonna go fast if the track cleans off, but it is a little treacherous out there. I’ve got to give credit to Joey (Logano). He did a really good job.”
Next was Paul Menard in a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Menard had a lap at 178.582 mph.
Fourth was Kyle Busch, Logano’s JGR teammate.
“You’re kind of tentative going out there knowing everybody has been a little bit slick,” Busch said, “but a couple of guys started to back up their times from practice. We backed up our time from practice too. But just a little bit off in qualifying trim for some reason — just not being to get all the speed we need out of it. Solid lap.”
Fifth was the third JRG driver, Denny Hamlin.
“We were on pace for the pole and just got loose in turn three and lost a bunch of time,” Hamlin said. “I wanted to get below 50 seconds. We have a great car for tomorrow and should be up front throughout the day. Hopefully, we can get the first win at Pocono on the new pavement.”
Rounding out the top 10 were Mark Martin, Regan Smith, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Marcos Ambrose and Kasey Kahne.
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