Logano edges Blaney for pole in Ford 1-2 at Phoenix
Joey Logano doesn’t appear any worse for wear after his post-race run-in with Kyle Busch last week.
Going out late in the final, five-minute round of knockout qualifying, Logano posted the fastest average lap speed of the day (137.321 mph) to edge Ryan Blaney and claim the pole for Sunday’s Camping World 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ended up third, Kyle Larson fourth and his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Jamie McMurray rounded out the top-five.
Starting sixth through 10th: Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne.
The pole is the first this season for Logano, first at Phoenix and 18th of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career. Logano earned his first win at the track last fall.
“I thought I had a pretty good (Turns) 1 and 2, I was able to hook the bottom. (Turns) 3 and 4 is where nothing went right. I didn’t think it was going to be quite good enough,” Logano said.
“I pushed as hard as I could. Sometimes you overdrive it a little bit and you can still make some speed. Proud of this team and proud of the all-Ford front row. That’s a pretty special deal.”
Logano said the pole should be a good “momentum builder.”
“This has been a good track for us and we were finally able to break through and win here last fall,” he said. “I feel like we had a good car in race trim today. Our car was very fast.”
Logano led the way in the second 10-minute qualifying session with an average speed of 137.065 mph – which was the fastest lap run in qualifying at the time.
Blaney was second-fastest with a lap at 136.731 mph. Elliott was third, McMurray was fourth and Earnhardt rounded out the top-five.
“That was a good direction there,” Earnhardt said of his qualifying lap over his team radio. “It could roll a little better.”
Also advancing to the final round were Kenseth, Jones, Larson, Kurt Busch, Kahne, Keselowski and Kyle Busch.
The session didn’t start well for Kyle Busch. Just as he was start his lap at the beginning of the session, NASCAR displayed the red flag for debris in Turn 1. His initial lap did not count. Busch went out a second time later in the session.
Among those who failed to advance out of Round 2 were Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin.
Asked during his qualifying lap if his No. 4 Ford turned better on his final attempt, Harvick told crew chief Rodney Childers, “No, just lost rear grip.”
The Ganassi Racing teammates led the way in the first 20-minute qualifying session.
McMurray was the first car on the track and an average lap speed at 136.695 mph. Larson, who went out several minutes later, topped him at 136.695 mph.
Blaney was third-fastest, Logano fourth, Earnhardt fifth, Newman sixth, Keselowski seventh, Elliott eighth, Harvick ninth and Johnson 10th.
Because of the high temperatures, teams waited late into Round 1 before taking laps. McMurray was the first car to register a lap speed and that was 10 minutes into the session.
Among those who failed to advance to Round 2 were Danica Patrick, rookie Daniel Suarez and Aric Almirola.
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Chase Elliott leads practice once again Saturday morning
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