Despite his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota being the fastest car in second practice on Friday, Joey Logano made his qualifying attempt relatively early on Saturday to end up with the pole for Sunday's Pocono 400. Logano turned a 50.112-second lap to put himself on the provisional pole and held the position through the remainder of qualifying.
"Great car,” Logano commented on his crew chief Jason Ratcliff. "Jason's done a great job with this thing."
He'll be joined on the front row Sunday by Carl Edwards in the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. Edwards posted a 50.317-second lap in qualifying
"I drove down in the corner and it was just a little slicker than I thought it was going to be, and I got out of the groove a little bit on exit," Edwards said. "I just ran out of guts and had to lift a little off of one, and then I totally messed up the tunnel (turn), but I've got a great race car."
The No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Paul Menard and the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Kyle Busch will take the green flag from the second row. Menard qualified third with a lap time of 50.397, and Busch's 50.399-second lap was good enough for fourth.
Joe Gibbs Racing put all three of its entries within the top-five on the starting grid. Denny Hamlin drove the No. 11 JGR Toyota to fifth with a 50.408-second lap.
After fast practice laps on the newly-repaved Pocono on Friday that were more than five mph faster that previous practice speeds at the track, Saturday's qualifying session didn't get out to as quick of a start.
Two cars into the session, NASCAR halted qualifying for extensive track cleaning, let one more car go out for qualifying laps and then stopped action again for more track cleaning. Drivers early on had an issue with a lack of grip in turn one where an ARCA Racing Series car blew an engine in that series' practice Friday evening.
After more and more cars made their laps, the track got back to its previous form and speeds picked up, overall, to the point that 36 cars broke the previous track qualifying record.
Logano didn't expect his speed to hold up for the pole, given his early attempt and so many cars breaking the old record. "I feel like I left a couple of tenths out there," Logano said, not thinking at the time that he'd end up on the pole.
Forty-four cars made qualifying attempts for the 43 available spots on the starting grid. David Stremme, in the No. 30 Inception Motorsports Chevrolet, was the one driver unable to make the race.