Despite the recent past days that led to Penske Racing’s penalty after the Richmond race, Logano put his full effort into taking the Chicagoland pole
Joey Logano looked adversity in the eye and went out to set a single-lap qualifying record in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifications at the Chicagoland Speedway on Friday afternoon.
Driving the Shell Pennzoil Ford, Logano pushed the Penske Racing car to a speed of 189.414 miles per hour, besting Jimmie Johnson’s 2005 mark of 188.147 mph. In total, 14 drivers exceeded the previous qualifying standard.
Logano attained his second Coors Light pole of the season and the seventh of his brief career. Also, the track record was the 15th new standard of the season.
“It feels pretty good to be on the pole particularly after these last few days,” the young driver said. “Everyone has been working their guts off, and it is a really big deal to have both cars on the front row. It shows when you come to this point in the season everyone picks it up a little bit to get into the Chase. It is cool for us to get the pole, and I am excited about it. I know this No. 22 team can win the championship, and we are ready to go. We will work hard in practice and then wait to see what happens.
Asked if he was concerned about losing his spot in the Chase, Logano said he was never worried about being in. Commenting on Twitter users, Logano added, “I realize there are a lot of people that are really mean. I read enough of it and thought this Joey Logano guy is a real jerk. I hope to prove them wrong and show them I deserve to be here. This team has what it takes (to win championship).”
Brad Keselowski put the Miller Lite Ford on the outside of the front row with a run of 189.248 mph, to give the potent Penske team outright ownership of the front row for Sunday’s Geico 400, the opening event of the 10-race 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup schedule.
“I am happy to be on the front row,” Keselowski said. He won the 2012 season. “We still have to find speed to stay up front, and I wish we were in the Chase, but that’s not the reality. Even though we are not in the Chase, I am looking forward to the next 10 weeks. I feel like we can win this race.”
Juan Pablo Montoya and Kasey Kahne grabbed the second row starting positions with speeds of 189.062 and 188.785 mph, respectively.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Jeff Gordon earned the third row with Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards taking the fourth row.
Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top-10 qualifiers.
Other Chase competitors and their qualification spot are: Kyle Busch (12th), Kurt Busch (16th), Kevin Harvick (17th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (18th), Ryan Newman (20th) and the slowest of the 13 foes, Clint Bowyer (24th).
The GEIC 400 takes the green flag at 2 p.m. on Sunday and will be telecast by ESPN.