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Logano Rolls On At Martinsville

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 23 2019
Joey Logano continued his successful run in qualifying at Martinsville.(RacinToday/HHP file photo by David Tulis)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Joey Logano, driving a Ford, posted a lap of 97.830 mph Saturday at Martinsville Speedway to earn the pole for Sunday’s STP 500, his fifth No. 1 starting position in the last seven time trial sessions at NASCAR’s shortest track.

“I think we were able to get through the first couple rounds without putting many laps on our tires and that really paid a reward as we got to the third round,” Logano said. “It’s important to win a pole here, to start up front is obviously safer, but you can also run your pace and have a safer place on pit road.” 

Joining the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion on the front row is Aric Almirola, also in a Ford, with a 97.643-mph lap. Rounding out the top five are: Brad Keselowski, Ford, 97.458; Kevin Harvick, Ford, 97.382; and Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 97.362. William Byron was the fastest Chevrolet. He secured the sixth starting position with a 97.202-mph lap.

The starting lineup is provisional pending post-qualifying inspection Sunday morning.

Logano began his domination of STP 500 qualifying in 2015. Since then, he has been the only driver to claim the No. 1 starting position for Martinsville’s spring race. Qualifying was canceled the last two years due to inclement weather. Logano also earned the pole for Martinsville’s fall race in 2015 and 2017. Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch are the only two who have interrupted Logano’s stranglehold on the top starting spot. Truex, who will start ninth Sunday, claimed the pole for the fall race in 2016. Busch accomplished the feat last year. He starts 14th on Sunday.

“It’s a challenging place to do it (win the pole) because there’s just so much that goes into each round and each lap,” Logano said. “It’s not just one lap like most tracks we go to – you lay down one and you’re done.  Here, you’ve got to run quite a few laps to be able to lay down a fast one, which makes me run out of breath. It’s like the most intense qualifying session for me. I don’t know why that is.  We go slower here than anywhere else we go and I’m breathing harder than anywhere else we go.”

Sunday’s STP 500 starts at 2 p.m. and will be televised on FS1.

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying – 70th Annual STP 500 UNOFFICIAL

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

Saturday, March 23, 2019

               1. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 97.830 mph.

               2. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 97.643 mph.

               3. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 97.458 mph.

               4. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 97.382 mph.

               5. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 97.362 mph.

               6. (24) William Byron, Chevrolet, 97.202 mph.

               7. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 97.098 mph.

               8. (9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 97.053 mph.

               9. (19) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 97.018 mph.

               10. (41) Daniel Suarez, Ford, 96.830 mph.

               11. (14) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 96.706 mph.

               12. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 96.573 mph.

               13. (37) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 96.755 mph.

               14. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 96.716 mph.

               15. (21) Paul Menard, Ford, 96.696 mph.

               16. (47) Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 96.671 mph.

               17. (88) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 96.647 mph.

               18. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 96.602 mph.

               19. (20) Erik Jones, Toyota, 96.602 mph.

               20. (1) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 96.499 mph.

               21. (6) Ryan Newman, Ford, 96.484 mph.

               22. (95) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 96.465 mph.

               23. (13) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 96.357 mph.

               24. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford, 96.146 mph.

               25. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 96.298 mph.

               26. (38) David Ragan, Ford, 96.107 mph.

               27. (43) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 95.917 mph.

               28. (00) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 95.709 mph.

               29. (8) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 95.603 mph.

               30. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 95.569 mph.

               31. (15) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 95.415 mph.

               32. (36) Matt Tifft #, Ford, 95.415 mph.

               33. (52) Jeb Burton(i), Chevrolet, 94.689 mph.

               34. (77) DJ Kennington(i), Chevrolet, 94.618 mph.

               35. (32) Corey LaJoie, Ford, 0.000 mph.

               36. (51) Cody Ware #, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.

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| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, March 23 2019
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