Logano Leads Penske Qualifying Sweep
LAS VEGAS – Two knockout qualifying sessions, two poles for Team Penske.
Joey Logano grabbed the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Friday afternoon. Logano’s track record 27.939-second lap at 193.278 mph gave him the top spot in his No. 22 Ford over teammate Brad Keselowski.
This is the second consecutive week Team Penske has swept the front row. Keselowski won the pole last weekend at Phoenix Int’l Raceway with Logano starting alongside him in second.
“To have a Penske front row the last two weekends at two completely different race tracks, it just goes to show just how hard these guys have been working,” Logano said. “When you work hard, results come. We obviously haven’t won on Sunday yet, so we’ve got to figure out the big show.”
Clint Bowyer qualified third, followed by rookie Austin Dillon and Jimmie Johnson. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jamie McMurray, Aric Almirola, Brian Vickers, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr. completed the top-12 fastest qualifiers.
This was the first time the new knockout qualifying system has been used at a 1.5-mile oval. At larger tracks knockout qualifying features three rounds, cutting the field down to 24 after the first round and then to 12 for the final five-minute qualifying round.
Vickers paced the opening round of qualifying, circling the 1.5-mile oval at 192.995 mph. Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dillon and Bowyer were the top five in the first session.
Among those failing to advance to the second round of qualifying were Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin and defending race winner Matt Kenseth. J.J. Yeley, Joe Nemechek, Blake Koch, Dave Blaney and Landon Cassill failed to qualify for the race.
Logano set the pace in the second qualifying session, topping the charts at 192.905 mph. Bowyer, McMurray, Truex and Keselowski followed. After leading the first round of qualifying, Vickers qualified 12th to sneak into the final round of qualifying.
Among those not advancing to the final qualifying session were Kahne, Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart.