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Logano Wins Pole; Others Rant At Inspections

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, February 27 2015

Joey Logano's early season success continued at Atlanta on Friday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Alan Marler)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Qualifying almost always results in one driver being happy and all others being disappointed. Following Friday’s Sprint Cup time trials at Atlanta Motor Speedway, one driver emerged happy and a bunch of others were beyond furious.

The happy dude was Joey Logano, the winner of last weekend’s Daytona 500, who won the pole for Sunday’s race.

Kevin Harvick was second fastest and will start next to Logano on the front row.

“I just did a bad job,” Harvick, who finished second to Logano at Daytona, said. “Obviously, In Round 1 I missed Turn 1 and in the last round, I missed Turn 1 again and just didn’t get to the bottom like I needed to in order to get back in the throttle. I’m just really proud of everybody on our Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet for everything that they’ve done. We have a fast car. The No. 22 (Logano) has probably been the fastest in a single car run, but I feel really good about our car on the long haul and that’s what matters.”

Causing the fury was the fact that many cars didn’t make it through pre-qualifying inspections in time and, hence, never got to take a shot at the pole.

Jeff Gordon was one of the 13 drivers effected.

“This is absolutely embarrassing,” Gordon said, referring to the inspection process at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “I just feel so bad for my guys and for 3M. To not even get a chance to go out on the race track is ridiculous. I know the fans deserve an apology. I don’t know how many cars there must be back here (the garage) that never even got a chance to go on the track. I know we went through twice. When you have this many…..I’ve seen five or six or even 10 cars that have issues going through (tech) with certain little things. But this many cars that didn’t go; that’s not on these teams. And they deserve better than this.

“I can’t believe how disappointing this is. I assume I made the race; I mean, who knows what even happened with the points and what’s going on? There are guys that don’t have the points that are going home that never even got a chance to even get out there. It’s a big letdown for me and for our series, right now, that this happened. There is no way that this should ever happen.”

Also not being able to make a qualifying run were stars Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart.

Gordon said he has never experienced anything like what happened to him Friday.

“There is something wrong,” the four-time Cup champion said. “Or there is something wrong with the system. Or there is something wrong with the amount of time they allot to get through. There is no way this many good cars, talented people that they can’t figure out how to get these cars through inspection. These guys are too smart. Yes we are pushing limits, but there is something wrong here. I’m embarrassed; I’m embarrassed for our series right now that this just happened. I’m really upset for my sponsor 3M that just came on for this weekend where we didn’t even get a chance to qualify. We are just fortunate – I’m assuming we aren’t going home because of points from last year. I know there are a lot of teams out here that aren’t going to be that fortunate. I hate it for these guys that work so hard. We were excited about qualifying today. I thought we had a great shot at being up front. This is absolutely ridiculous.”

Said Kenseth, “Obviously, they (NASCAR officials) weren’t organized enough to get everybody through tech it appears, so I don’t know. We’ve got all the people up there to watch qualifying and they don’t really get to watch everybody qualify, so it’s kind of confusing and disappointing for sure.”

Asked if he knew what happened, Kenseth said, “I don’t really know. I’m not educated enough on that to give you a good answer. I think you’d have to ask Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) or somebody there. I don’t really know. I don’t typically go with the car through inspections, so I don’t know.”

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, February 27 2015
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