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Logano Claims Pole For Las Vegas Cup Race

| , RacinToday.com Friday, March 7 2014

Joey Logano is on the pole in Vegas. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Rusty Jarrett)

For the second week in a row, Team Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski will start the Sprint Cup Series race from the front row.

Logano will start from the pole in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Next to him on the grid will be Keselowski, the pole-winner a week ago at Phoenix.

Friday’s knock out qualifying session was the first on a superspeedway and utilized three elimination rounds to settle on the starting lineup.

“To have a Penske front row the last two weekends at two completely different race tracks just goes to show how hard these guys have been working,” Logano said. “When you work hard those results come. We obviously haven’t won on Sunday yet, so we’ve got to figure out the big show, but we’ve had some good speed in our cars.

“This was this first time with three segments so that changes it up quite a bit. We got blocked on the race track a little bit and didn’t get our first run in very well. We went back out and was only 18th after the first segment and then you kind of get to reset – take a deep breath, adjust on your race car, cool it off the best you can and we were able to go out there and run again and win the last two segments. The guys did great. This whole Shell/Pennzoil team they’re a bunch of hard-working guys. It’s so much fun to work with then. We’re here to win this year and we’re trying to prove it.”

Brian Vickers actually posted the fastest lap in the first round, Logano was fastest in the second round and again in the third round, when he set the track qualifying record with an average lap speed at 193.278 mph.

Clint Bowyer will line up third, Austin Dillon fourth and Jimmie Johnson fifth.

“Today was a little more stressful,” Johnson said. “We were kind of around the bubble on each transfer. So that makes things more exciting. But if you can blast off a quick lap, and you’re up there in that top 5 for those first two segments it’s real easy. Get your car nice and cool and talk thoroughly about your adjustments and what you want to do to the car and make things happen from there. But today we were kind of on pins and needles and had to roll down to the end of pit road both times as we were near the bump zone and kinda had to play that game. So that was more stressful.”

“We’re all still learning what the best strategy is, when to go, when to cool your motor off, when to do all this stuff,” Logano said of the new qualifying format. “We have an idea what we want to do. We’ve studied it as much as we can.

“But every time we do this we learn something that we may want to do different next time… All you can do is find the biggest hole that you can [between cars] and make sure you lay down the best lap you can. That’s what I get paid to do.”

In the first qualifying round, which lasted 25 minutes and narrowed the field of drivers eligible for the pole from 48 drivers to 24, every driver who advanced to the 10-minute second round broke Kasey Kahne’s 2012 qualifying record of 190.456 mph.

(This story will be updated shortly)

| , RacinToday.com Friday, March 7 2014
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