Joey Logano on pole at Michigan
Joey Logano celebrates winning the pole for the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 10, 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
Joey Logano claimed his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole of the 2016 season on Friday with a 36.080-second/199.557 mph lap in the third of three rounds of qualifying at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400. It’s Logano’s second pole of the season and came after two-consecutive weeks of qualifying second.
“It feels good,” Logano said. “Finally, we were able to break through. The last two weeks have stunk for me and my team. We have won the first two rounds the last few weeks and qualified second. Now, we figured out how to be second in the first round and first in the last two. That is a good move. I couldn’t be more proud of the team and the effort they put into this new package.”
Logano will the front row on the starting grid with Martin Truex Jr. on Sunday, Tony Stewart put in his best qualifying effort of the season to claim the third starting spot and share the second row on the grid with Denny Hamlin.
“I’m glad that was the last time I had to do that today,” Stewart said. “It felt really good. We were really loose in practice and Mike (Bugarewicz, crew chief) did a great job in the break, there, of making some big changes to get us caught up. It got my confidence back, there, and made me feel like I finally had the right-rear (tire) in the track, there. Now, we can hustle a little bit.”
Sprint Cup Series rookie Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-five.
Logano’s fast lap in round two was the fastest lap of the qualifying session, clocking in at 36.001 seconds/199.994 mph. But in the first round, Logano was second to Hamlin, as Hamlin turned in a 36.104-second/199.424 mph first-round lap.
Former Michigan race winners Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick both failed to advance beyond the first round, and Earnhardt had to settle for the 27th spot and Harvick 29th on the starting grid. Harvick had a hard time getting any lap time posted in the one round in which he made laps, as efforts were twice interrupted by the red flag, first for debris put down by Jamie McMurray and again for a spin by David Ragan.
“With the car on the race track and the debris up out of the groove, and you could hold the cars at the end of pit road, but it is what it is,” Harvick said.
Defending race winner Kurt Busch, unlike Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Harvick and Earnhardt, advanced out of the opening round, but round two was the end of his qualifying efforts, as he wound up 17th.
Here is the complete starting grid for Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway:
Row 1 — Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford), Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota)
Row 2 — Tony Stewart (No. 14 Chevrolet), Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota)
Row 3 — Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford), Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet)
Row 4 — Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet), Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet)
Row 5 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Chase Elliott (No. 24 Chevrolet)
Row 6 — Carl Edwards (No. 19 Toyota), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 7 — Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford), Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet)
Row 8 — Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)
Row 9 — Kurt Busch (No. 41 Chevrolet), Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ford)
Row 10 — Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota), A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet)
Row 11 — Ty Dillon (No. 95 Chevrolet), Chris Buescher (No. 34 Ford)
Row 12 — Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet), Casey Mears (No. 13 Chevrolet)
Row 13 — Danica Patrick (No. 10 Chevrolet), Brian Scott (No. 44 Ford)
Row 14 — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet), Landon Cassill (No. 38 Ford)
Row 15 — Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Chevrolet), Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford)
Row 16 — Matt DiBenedetto (No. 83 Toyota), Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet)
Row 17 — Regan Smith (No. 7 Chevrolet), Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Chevrolet)
Row 18 — David Ragan (No. 23 Toyota), Cole Whitt (No. 55 Chevrolet)
Row 19 — Josh Wise (No. 30 Chevrolet), Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 32 Ford)
Row 20 — Michael Annett (No. 46 Chevrolet), Reed Sorenson (No. 98 Chevrolet)