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Logano Speeds To Pole At Martinsville

| , RacinToday.com Friday, March 27 2015

Joey Logano will start from the pole position on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

RacinToday.com

Team Penske’s Joey Logano on Friday won the pole for Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway.

The pole was the second of the season for Logano and the 10th of his career in the series.

It was Logano’s first pole in Cup at the historic Martinsville short track.

“It feels great to finally get the pole here,” he said. “We’ve been close so many times and throughout my career I feel like we’ve always qualified well here, but was never able to get a pole. I caught a hard time about getting the track record here and not getting the pole, so to have a pole to back that up feels great. You win anything at Martinsville is a big deal.

“This is such a tough race track and it means a lot to say you’ve won something here even if it’s a pole. It’s a good start for us. To get out there, obviously, starting towards the front here is a huge advantage, probably bigger than most race tracks because it allows you the first run to be able to pace yourself a little bit and make sure you have some race car at the end of this thing.”

Logano covered the .526-mile distance in 19.232 seconds (98.461 mph).

Qualifying second fastest was  Richard Childress Racing’s Ryan Newman, who posted the fastest speed during opening practice earlier in the day.

“I hate getting beat,” Newman said. “But Joey (Logano) won the pole here last fall. We’ve got a good Quicken Loans Chevrolet. We actually started in race trim and got one run in qualifying trim and went to P1. So, I felt like we were super competitive and just got beat by just a little bit. So, we’ll obviously focus on race trim like everybody else and get the car to drive good and hopefully still be fast. We’ll keep an eye on our brake temps like everybody needs to do, and see if we can do it better than everybody else.”

A trio of Chevrolets rounded out the top five: Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. and Hendrick Motorsports’ Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, respectively.

Reigning Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick advanced to the second round of qualifying and will roll off the grid 17th on Sunday. Harvick, who has finished first or second in every Sprint Cup race this season, last won at Martinsville in 2011.

Logano said the pole at the Martinsville short track means plenty.

“Obviously,” he said, “the first pit stall is an advantage like it is every week, but we’ve seen a lot of people crash on pit road here, so it’s a little safer down there at the end also. Nothing but good things happen from starting first, so I’m excited about it. I was laughing. I talked to Todd when it was raining today and he said he wouldn’t be bummed out if practice and qualifying got rained out because we would start second. I said, ‘I don’t want that. If there’s a shot at it, I want to get the pole. Second is not good enough.’ So I got to say I told you so to him and that doesn’t happen very often when he’s way smarter than me, so it works out pretty good. I’ve taken every opportunity I can to say that, so we’ve got a good starting spot and I’m excited about the race.”

| , RacinToday.com Friday, March 27 2015
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