Richmond, VA (SportsNetwork.com) – Joey Logano will start on the pole for
Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400 after topping Denny Hamlin in qualifying at
Richmond International Raceway.
Logano, who won the spring race at Richmond one year ago, made a lap around
this 0.75-mile oval at 127.071 mph during Friday’s final round in qualifying
to claim his Sprint Cup Series-leading third pole of the season. It was also
his 11th career pole in the series.
Last Sunday at Bristol, Logano finished 40th — the first time he had placed
outside the top-10 this season — after he was involved in an early-race
accident with his Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski. Logano, the driver of
the No. 22 Ford for Penske, won the Feb. 22 Daytona 500 and then captured the
pole at Atlanta one week later. He also started first in last month’s race at
Hamlin, who hails from nearby Chesterfield, Virginia, will share the front
starting row with Logano after he turned a lap at 126.796 mph. Hamlin missed
most of the Bristol race when he suffered a neck spasm. Erik Jones relieved
him in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Toyota, finishing 26th.
Earlier in the day, Hamlin won the pole and Logano qualified second for Friday
night’s 250-lap Xfinity Series race at Richmond.
Kurt Busch qualified third, while A.J. Allmendinger took the fourth spot.
Kevin Harvick, the defending Sprint Cup champion and current points leader,
Finishing sixth through 12th in the last round of qualifying were: Martin
Truex Jr., Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, who ended his 51-race winless drought at
Bristol, Jamie McMurray, David Ragan, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Larson.
While Gordon made into the third round, his Hendrick Motorsports teammates,
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne, failed to advance out of
the first round.
Earnhardt qualified a season-worst 26th, and Johnson placed 36th for his
second-lowest starting position of the year. He won the March 1 race at
Atlanta after starting 37th there.
Kahne, who had posted the fastest lap overall in the two Sprint Cup practices
held earlier in the day, qualified 40th with a lap at 125.909 mph.
Jeb Burton and Brendan Gaughan failed to qualify.