Race Weekend Central

Brad Keselowski Leads Team Penske 1-2 Punch In Pocono Qualifying

A familiar sight in American auto racing, Team Penske, has swept the front row once again in NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying. This time, it is Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano who ended up 1-2 for Sunday’s Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Both previous Pocono winners, the duo finished ahead of Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards. Keselowski posted a speed of 181.726 mph, short of the track record set by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. a year and a half ago.

For Keselowski, it was his first pole of the 2016 Sprint Cup Series season and first at Pocono.

“A really solid effort for Team Penske,” Keselowski said. “To get 1-2 is really hard to do, I can tell you that. I wasn’t really sure what to expect with the rain and all the other variables that were thrown at us with low practice [but] we had great speed today.”

With his fifth second-place start of 2016, teammate Logano was proud to say he’s disappointed to be second to Keselowski. The runner-up effort continues a strong push in the right direction for a team boosted by an All-Star Race win last month — although no racer is ever satisfied with a silver medal.

“It’s very similar to last week,” said Logano, who qualified second last week at Charlotte. “That one stings a little bit. Really wanted to be able to get a pole. Overall, we are mad about second so that’s a good day.”

One driver not happy following his qualifying result was last week’s winner, Martin Truex, Jr., who struggled in the session before finishing 17th. Truex is the defending champion of this race but will have work to do if he’s going to post back-to-back victories for the first time in his Cup Series career.

“We just missed it,” Truex said. “I’m not sure what’s going on but we’ll figure it out in time for Sunday’s race.”

For the first time in 2016, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. advanced to the final 12-driver round of qualifying. He lines up eighth for Sunday. Denny Hamlin extended his run of top-12 starts by lining up 10th quick.

The full starting lineup for Sunday’s race can be found here. Only 40 drivers were entered this weekend, which means everyone who made a qualifying attempt made the race.

ALBINO: Earnhardt On Qualifying Struggles, Future With Hendrick

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