It was easy to hear the relief and elation in Joey Logano’s voice after the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford put his car on the pole for Sunday’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
“Oh, it was so much needed for all of us here,” said Logano, who struggled to a 29th-place finish last Monday at Dover. “The last couple of weeks were pretty rough, getting in a couple of crashes and not being strong at Dover.”
On Throwback Weekend at the Track Too Tough to Tame, Logano is sporting a paint scheme reminiscent of the quarter midget racer he drove as a child.
“This is full circle for me,” said Logano, who covered the 1.366-mile distance in 28.805 seconds (170.720 mph) in the money round of qualifying on Saturday. “This is my first quarter-midget paint scheme — it’s got all the same stuff on it since I was a kid.”
In winning his first pole of the season, his first at Darlington and the 23rd of his career, Logano edged Kyle Larson (170.236 mph) by .082 seconds. Christopher Bell qualified third at 169.818 mph, followed by Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch, as Toyota drivers claimed starting positions three through six.
Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain, William Byron and Tyler Reddick will start from positions seven through 10 on Sunday after advancing to the final round of time trials.
Neither Chase Elliott nor Kevin Harvick made qualifying runs after suffering flat tires during Saturday’s practice. Elliott was forced to a backup car after hard contact with the wall, and Harvick’s team spent the qualifying session replacing the damaged rear diffuser on the No. 4 Ford.
Both drivers will start from the rear of the field on Sunday.
Brad Keselowski and Corey LaJoie also found trouble in practice. Keselowski spun at pit entry to conclude Group B’s practice session as he attempted to head into pit lane. LaJoie went around in the center of Turns 3 and 4 that saw his No. 7 Chevrolet brush the outside wall. They qualified 23rd and 30th, respectively.
Staff contributed to this report.