Joey Logano spent the week answering questions about every detail regarding last Sunday’s altercation with Kyle Busch at Las Vegas. The past five days, including a meeting with NASCAR officials have been all about “the fight.”
But when Coors Light Pole qualifying came around Friday at Phoenix International Raceway, it was time to let his car do the talking.
Logano powered his Team Penske Shell/ Pennzoil Ford to his 18th career pole position in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. His 26.216-second lap gave him an average speed of 137.321 mph. The Team Penske driver was fast from the very start of on-track activity, posting the third-quickest speed in practice. Logano is also the most recent winner at Phoenix, having claimed the penultimate race last November.
“I am glad we finally got a pole here. We have qualified really well here, but we have never really put the whole deal together in the last run,” Logano said of his pole-winning lap. “We have won plenty of rounds but have never actually gotten the pole. I am glad we could finally do that.
“I thought it wasn’t going to be good enough. My one and two were good but three and four were tight and I was coming up the racetrack and I didn’t think it was it. But it was good enough to get the pole. Either way, it was good enough so I am happy about that.”
Ryan Blaney continued his strong start to 2017 by putting his Wood Brothers No. 21 on the outside of the front row. Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified third, followed by the Chip Ganassi teammates of Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray. McMurray also posted the best 10-lap average in the earlier practice session.
Other notables were Clint Bowyer in 13th, defending series champion Jimmie Johnson in 14th and Denny Hamlin 19th after debris cut a tire. Only 39 drivers total made an attempt so all made the grid for Sunday.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises during qualifying was Kevin Harvick, who mustered only a 23rd-place start. Harvick is an eight-time winner at the mile-long desert oval, including this event last spring. However, there isn’t too much cause for concern among fans of the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4. Harvick has been fast all season and started from 18th before taking the checkered flag last year.
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About the author
Frank Velat has been an avid follower of NASCAR and other motorsports for over 20 years. He brings a blend of passionate fan and objective author to his work. Frank offers unique perspectives that everyone can relate to, remembering the sport's past all the while embracing its future. Follow along with @FrankVelat on Twitter.
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