Logano earns his first career pole at Martinsville

Driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford falls short of his own track record.

Logano earns his first career pole at Martinsville
Martinsville atmosphere
Ryan Newman, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet is congratulated by father Bill Elliott after qualifying
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

Joey Logano won the pole for Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway with a lap of 98.461 mph.

Although he set the track qualifying record with a lap of 100.201 mph last fall in qualifying, it’s Logano’s first pole on the half-mile track and his 10th career pole in the Sprint Cup Series.

“That’s as fast as I could go,” Logano said. “There’s not bad about starting first.”

Logano took the first lap for the final five minute session and ran a total of six laps. Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart rounded out the top six.

Rows three through six will comprise of Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, AJ Allmendinger, Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski.

“That’s all I had,” said Gordon, who qualified fourth and is tied with Johnson for most wins at the track with eight. “It keeps getting looser as I run.”

Kenseth, Logano and Johnson posted the top three speeds in the first round. The second session was led by Newman, then Stewart and Gordon.

For October’s winner Dale Earnhardt, a lack of rear grip slowed his effort. Still, he’s confident that his performance will improve for the race.

“The second lap felt pretty good, but it just loses rear grip,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., who ended up 14th. “I expect the car to race really well."

In the second round of qualifying, Justin Allgaier slapped the wall to bring out the second caution in qualifying with 3:41 remaining in the session. He had posted the 17th fastest session prior to the accident.

Casey Mears qualified for the second round but developed transmission issues before taking his first lap. He posted with the 24th fastest time.

Although qualifying 27th wasn’t the result Chase Elliott was hoping for in his Sprint Cup debut, he was grateful the rain stopped and he was able to qualify.

“Definitely a big relief for us, we’re definitely excited,” Elliott said. Thanks to all these guys for working hard and getting us into the show.”

Brett Moffitt and Chris Buescher, who are also making their first starts at Martinsville, roll off 33rd and 35th, respectively.

Brendan Gaughan and Ron Hornaday Jr. failed to make the field. Hornaday, who had to qualify on time, backed the No. 30 into the wall with less than three minutes remaining in the first session.

Pos   Driver   Car   Time   Gap 
1 Joey Logano Ford 19.232 -
2 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 19.258 0.026
3 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet 19.313 0.081
4 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 19.399 0.167
5 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 19.405 0.173
6 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 19.428 0.196
7 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 19.429 0.197
8 Matt Kenseth Toyota 19.443 0.211
9 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 19.465 0.233
10 A.J.Allmendinger Chevrolet 19.469 0.237
11 Carl Edwards Toyota 19.486 0.254
12 Brad Keselowski Ford 19.514 0.282
13 Paul Menard Chevrolet 19.444 0.212
14 D.Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 19.461 0.229
15 Denny Hamlin Toyota 19.468 0.236
16 Danica Patrick Chevrolet 19.468 0.236
17 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 19.470 0.238
18 Aric Almirola Ford 19.474 0.242
19 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 19.477 0.245
20 David Ragan Toyota 19.562 0.330
21 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet 19.564 0.332
22 Austin Dillon Chevrolet 19.570 0.338
23 R.Stenhouse Jr. Ford 19.611 0.379
24 Casey Mears Chevrolet 19.459 0.227
25 Greg Biffle Ford 19.525 0.293
26 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 19.533 0.301
27 Chase Elliott Chevrolet 19.538 0.306
28 Michael Annett Chevrolet 19.542 0.310
29 David Gilliland Ford 19.589 0.357
30 Clint Bowyer Toyota 19.599 0.367
31 Josh Wise Ford 19.601 0.369
32 Jeb Burton Toyota 19.624 0.392
33 Brett Moffitt Toyota 19.652 0.420
34 Landon Cassill Chevrolet 19.664 0.432
35 Chris Buescher Ford 19.672 0.440
36 Trevor Bayne Ford 19.673 0.441
37 Cole Whitt Ford 19.713 0.481
38 Sam Hornish Jr. Ford 19.720 0.488
39 Alex Bowman Chevrolet 19.744 0.512
40 Mike Bliss Ford 19.788 0.556
41 Alex Kennedy Chevrolet 19.871 0.639
42 J.J. Yeley Toyota 19.890 0.658
43 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota 20.025 0.793
Not qualified
44 Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 19.801 0.569
45 Ron Hornaday Chevrolet 19.850 0.618
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