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NASCAR Cup: Joey Logano starts from pole at Martinsville Speedway

Joey Logano on track at Martinsville Speedway during practice for the First Data 500 on Oct. 28, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

Joey Logano on track at Martinsville Speedway during practice for the First Data 500 on Oct. 28, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).


Joey Logano claimed his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole of the season and the fourth his career at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on the Sunday of a weekend featuring same-day qualifying and racing. His 19.622-second/96.504 mph lap in the third of three rounds of qualifying earned him the pole for the First Data 500, scheduled for later in the day.

“I think the last time we were here, (Martin) Truex got us by a few thousandths, so it’s cool to flip-flop that again,” Logano said. “We have a good Shell/Pennzoil Ford that the team put together for me this weekend. I’ve got something to race with this week. I’m really excited about the race, and starting up front is always a big deal here. We may not get the good pit stall that we would want, but starting towards the front is always a nice thing to have. You can set your own pace and kind of take care of your car.  When you start in the back it starts beating up on your car, which at some point you may end up back there with strategy, but I feel good about the car we’ve got this week, and it’s something we can race with.”

After being fastest in final practice Saturday, Logano led all three rounds of qualifying. His 19.571-second/96.755 mph lap in the second round was the fastest lap, overall, of the three-round qualifying session.

Logano will be surrounded by playoff drivers on the starting grid, with points leader Martin Truex Jr. next to him on the front row and Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney starting in row two.

Five of the eight remaining playoff drivers got to the final round of qualifying, with Denny Hamlin qualifying sixth to start next to fifth-place starter, Clint Bowyer, in the third row. Brad Keselowski qualified seventh.

All eight playoff drivers managed to advance to the second round, but Jimmie Johnson spun late in the round, bringing out the red flag with about two minutes remaining in round two. As a result, Johnson was the lowest qualifying playoff driver in 24th, last in round two. Johnson will start the race even farther in the back, all the way to the back, as the result of a gear change.

“Wheel hopped into turn three, and fortunately, didn’t kill the car, so I got lucky there,” Johnson said.

Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch were the other two playoff drivers who failed to advance to the final round, with Harvick qualifying 13th and Busch 14th. Harvick was in a position to advance to the final round, but was knocked off the provisional bubble by Erik Jones, the last driver to make a qualifying attempt in round two.

Here’s a look at the complete starting grid for the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway:
Row 1 — Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford), Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota)
Row 2 — Chae Elliott (No. 24 Chevrolet), Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford)
Row 3 — Clint Bowyer (No. 14 Ford), Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota)
Row 4 — Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford), Erik Jones (No. 77 Toyota)
Row 5 — Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet), Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford)
Row 6 — Kurt Busch (No. 41 Ford), Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet)
Row 7 — Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Ford), Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota)
Row 8 — Daniel Suarez (No. 19 Toyota), Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet)
Row 9 — Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota), Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet)
Row 10 — Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet), Michael McDowell (No. 95 Chevrolet)
Row 11 — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 12 — Danica Patrick (No. 10 Ford), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)
Row 13 — Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet), Ty Dillon (No. 13 Chevrolet)
Row 14 — A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet), Matt DiBenedetto (No. 32 Ford)
Row 15 — Chris Buescher (No. 37 Chevrolet), Cole Whitt (No. 72 Chevrolet)
Row 16 — David Ragan (No. 38 Ford), Reed Sorenson (No. 15 Chevrolet)
Row 17 — Landon Cassill (No. 34 Ford), Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford)
Row 18 — Gray Gaulding (No. 83 Toyota), Corey LaJoie (No. 23 Toyota)
Row 19 — Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 33 Chevrolet), Kyle Weatherman (No. 51 Chevrolet)
Row 20 — Carl Long (No. 66 Chevrolet), Hermie Sadler (No. 7 Chevrolet)

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Posted by on October 29, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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