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Logano on Homestead pole; Keselowski to start third

November 16, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com



Logano on Homestead pole; Keselowski to start third
Best qualifying effort for Keselowski this season; Johnson to start 10th

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Joey Logano may have knocked Brad Keselowski off the front row in Friday's time trails at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but Keselowski nevertheless had reason to celebrate.

The last of 47 drivers to make a qualifying attempt, Logano scorched the South Florida track in 30.672 seconds (176.056 mph) to claim the pole for Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400, beating Marcos Ambrose (175.342 mph) and Keselowski (175.092 mph) for the top starting spot.

Homestead

Race Lineup
Pos.DriverSpeedTime
2. M. Ambrose 175.342 30.797
3. Keselowski 175.09230.841
4. C. Edwards 175.001 30.857
5. A. Almirola 174.887 30.877

The Coors Light Pole Award was Logano's second of the year and the fifth of his career.

* Out Front with Miss Coors Light: Rachel and Joey

The 27th driver out and the first of four to top 175 mph, Keselowski toured the 1.5-mile track in 30.841 seconds (watch). Johnson, the 32nd qualifier overall and the fifth to follow Keselowski couldn't match the driver he's pursuing for the title, posting a lap at 174.081 mph (watch).

Johnson, who trails Keselowski by 20 points entering the season finale, will start 10th on Sunday. Keselowski can lock up his first Cup title with a finish of 15th or better, but he didn't want to overstate the importance of the qualifying positions.

"Other than pit stall selection, it's kind of a moot point, in a sense," said Keselowski, who recorded his best qualifying effort in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. "I was prepared to qualify drastically behind the 48 car -- I think the whole team was.

"You look at the race tracks that we talked about being similar to here, Chicagoland and Texas, at both of those race tracks, we qualified drastically behind them, and we were able to get up there. And that shows that, if you have a great race car, you'll be able to get the job done.

"That actual track position becomes irrelevant if you have a great race team."

Sunday's race will be the last with Joe Gibbs Racing for Logano, who will join Keselowski at Penske Racing next year.

Notes-n-Nuggets

• Joey Logano scored his fifth pole in his 147th start.
• Joey Logano scored his second pole of 2012; his only win this season came from the pole (Pocono in June).
• Joey Logano scored his first pole at Homestead in his fourth race; his previous best start there was 19th in 2010.
• Joey Logano is the 10th different driver to win a pole in 14 Homestead races.
• Joe Gibbs Racing scored its 61st career pole, first at Homestead, and seventh of the season.
• Toyota scored its third pole at Homestead and 12th of the season.
• Marcos Ambrose (second) posted his best Homestead start in his fifth race; his previous best was third in 2009.
• Brad Keselowski (third) posted his best time-trial start of 2012; he started second when time trials were canceled at Bristol in August.
• Carl Edwards (fourth) posted his fifth top-five start at Homestead, including the past three races.
• Aric Almirola (fifth) posted his eighth top-five start of 2012, including three of the past five races; it's his best Homestead start in his third race.
• Jimmie Johnson (10th) qualified worse than Brad Keselowski for just the fourth time in this Chase.
Four drivers failed to make the race: Reed Sorenson, Stephen Leicht, Jason Leffler and Joe Nemechek.

"To go out there in our final race with JGR, to go out there and get a pole for those guys -- they deserve it, all the guys back at the shop," Logano said. "I've been working with 'em since I was 15 years old. ... They gave me the car I needed to do what I had to do, and I did what I had to do, and we got the pole."