News & Media


Logano zooms to Pocono pole under cloud cover

August 06, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service, NASCAR.com

A ray of sunlight, a warming race track and a little sandbagging all helped Joey Logano claim the pole for Sunday's Good Sam RV Insurance 500 at Pocono Raceway.

After posting a lap at 172.055 mph (52.309 seconds) during Saturday morning's time trials, Logano had to wait for 20 fellow Sprint Cup drivers to make their qualifying runs before he could claim the top spot for Sunday's race at the 2.5-mile triangular track.

Pocono

Race Lineup
Pos.DriverSpeedTime
2. K. Kahne 171.648 52.433
3. M. Truex Jr. 171.494 52.480
4. C. Edwards 171.474 52.486
5. Ku. Busch 171.468 52.488

The Coors Light Pole Award was Logano's second this year. He has three Cup poles overall.

* Out Front with Miss Coors Light: Rachel with Joey

A patch of sunlight, which broke through the clouds after Logano made his attempt, may have warmed the track enough to prevent those who followed him from beating his time.

Kasey Kahne came closest, running his lap at 171.648 mph to earn the outside spot on the front row. Martin Truex Jr. (171.494 mph), who preceded Logano in the qualifying order, will start third, followed by Cup points leader Carl Edwards (171.474 mph) and Kurt Busch (171.468 mph).

And, in fairness, Logano didn't show his hand in Friday's practice, when the qualifying order is set -- slowest to fastest -- according to practice speeds.

"About all of us looked at the schedule before we got here and saw that qualifying was in the morning," Logano said. "There's a lot of cars sandbagging [in practice]. A lot of guys were definitely shutting it down before they got to the start/finish line. The chance you take is, if it rains, you're SOL."

In the event of a rainout, NASCAR sets the starting order for the race according to practice speeds.

"I don't know where we were on the chart -- 20th or so on the speed charts in practice? Obviously, we had a lot more than that," Logano said.

Kahne has a win and two poles in 15 starts at Pocono, but on Saturday, he was no match for Logano.

"Joey put down a great lap," Kahne said. "Ours was good, but Joey's was really good. If we want the pole, we'll have to be a little bit faster, but still, it's a nice spot for Sunday. So many things will happen on Sunday. We watched last week at Indy how it all changed throughout probably the last 40 laps."

Kahne led a race-high 48 laps before the Brickyard 400 became a mileage race won by Paul Menard.

Notes-n-Nuggets

• Joey Logano scored his third career pole in his 96th start, and second in 2011 (Infineon).
• Joey Logano is the fifth driver to score multiple poles in 2011, joining Kurt Busch (3), Carl Edwards (2), David Ragan (2) and Juan Montoya (2).
• Joey Logano is the youngest driver to win a pole at Pocono; his previous best: 12th.
• Joey Logano is the eighth different pole winner in past eight races that had qualifying at Pocono.
• Joey Logano has never scored a top-10 finish in his five previous Pocono races; his previous best: 11th.
• Joe Gibbs Racing scored its 53rd pole and fifth at Pocono.
• Toyota has three poles in 2011: Two by Joey Logano and one by Kasey Kahne (Darlington).
• Kasey Kahne (second) scored his best start in the past seven races at Pocono; he has posted top-10 starts in the past four races.
• Martin Truex Jr. (third) posted his best start in 2011 and his best start in 12 races at Pocono.
• Points leader Carl Edwards (fourth) scored his best start in 14 races at Pocono.
• Kurt Busch (fifth) has started 13th or better in his past nine Pocono races.
• Denny Hamlin (sixth) has started in the top 10 in 10 of his 12 races at Pocono.
• Denny Hamlin has won two of the past four races at Pocono, with top-five finishes in three of the four.
• Kevin Harvick (10th) has scored top-five finishes in the past three Pocono races.
• Ryan Newman (12th and fastest in final practice) and Jeff Gordon (31st) both ended streaks of six consecutive top-10 starts at Pocono.
• Jimmie Johnson (18th) has finished 13th or better in his past eight Pocono races.
• Todd Bodine (30th) was the fastest of drivers who had to qualify on time.
• Three Richard Childress Racing cars qualified in top-10: Paul Menard (seventh), Jeff Burton (eighth), Kevin Harvick (10th).
• Six of the past 12 Pocono races were won from the front row; the past eight races were won from a top-15 starting position.
• Lowest starting position of a Pocono race winner: 29th (Carl Edwards).
• Geoffrey Bodine, T.J. Bell and Mike Skinner failed to make the 43-car field.

"It'll be like that again here," Kahne said. "We'll try to stay on top of it, make the right decisions and keep the car to where it's one of the best cars throughout the race, and maybe we'll be there at the end and have a shot."