Brad Keselowski takes first Cup pole under new qualifying procedure

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Penske teammate Joey Logano qualifies second.

Team Penske drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano dominated the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' first attempt at Formula One-style "knockout" qualifying on Friday at Phoenix International Raceway for Sunday's The Profit on CNBC 500.

Keselowski claimed his fourth-career pole with a fastest lap time of 25.828 seconds (139.384 mph) with his No. 2 Ford in the second round, while Logano posted the second fastest lap time of 25.850 seconds (139.265 mph) in the No. 22 Ford.

"I think you have to have a fast car; that's the big thing," Keselowski said when asked about the best strategy to come out of the new qualifying format with the pole.

The Penske cars were also fastest in the first round of the two-round session. In that session, Logano posted the fastest lap, while Keselowski was second. Both were among only nine of 46 drivers who hit the track and posted their fastest times at the beginning of the first 30-minute round.

"Unfortunately, we won the wrong one," Logano said of being fastest in the first round instead of the second. "Our teammate got the second one, but at least we both got a chance to win something today."

The No. 51 HScott Motorsports Chevrolet of Justin Allgaier spun early before making a timed lap, but Allgaier was able to make the race with an owner's provisional. Midway through the first session, drivers were either off-track or running slow on the track, trying to cool engines for an additional run late in the round. The laps later in the first round weren't enough to match Logano and Keselowski, and for the most part, weren't fast enough to get drivers into the top-12.

When the green flag waved for the second round, Logano was, again, one of the first drivers on the track. He beat the old track record right at the start of the round, but Keselowski went out soon after to knock his teammate off the provisional pole.

"I didn't think I had the lap in me," Keselowski said.

Jamie McMurray wound up third in the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. He'll share the second row on Sunday with the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson. Last weekend's Daytona 500 winner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., rounded out the top-five in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Greg Biffle was sixth in the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. Kyle Larson was the only rookie to advance to the second round of qualifying and wound up seventh in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Other cars/drivers in the top-12 include the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Kyle Busch in eighth, the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford of Aric Almirola in ninth, the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet of Kurt Busch in 10th, the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Kasey Kahne in 11th and the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Denny Hamlin in 12th.

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Qualifying reports
Tags brad keselowski, nascar-cup, phoenix, qualifying