Logano Speeds To Phoenix Cup Series Pole

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Joey Logano captured the pole for Sunday's Camping World 500 at Phoenix Int'l Raceway. (Ivan Veldhuizen Photo)

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Joey Logano put the scuffle with Kyle Busch last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the rearview mirror on Friday by winning the pole for the Camping World 500 at Phoenix Int’l Raceway.

Logano’s No. 22 Team Penske Ford crew focused on putting as few laps on their tires as possible in the early rounds of qualifying and that strategy paid off. Logano was able to turn the fastest lap of qualifying in the final session, a 26.216-second lap at 137.321 mph.

Ryan Blaney made it an all-Ford front row by qualifying second in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford.

“The guys did a great job on the Shell/Pennzoil Ford,” said Logano, who was also fastest in the second round of qualifying. “I’m proud of this team and I’m proud of a Ford front row. That’s a special deal. I’m excited for the race now.”

Logano won last fall at Phoenix Int’l Raceway to advance to the championship round of the Chase and is hoping to back that up with another victory on Sunday.

“This has always been a good track for us. We were finally able to break through and win here last fall and I feel like we had a good car in race trim today,” Logano said. “Our car was very fast. We’ve just got to stick to our guns and do what we know how to do and tune our car in a little better for tomorrow’s practices and just execute the race like we know how to.”

Blaney’s second-place qualifying effort is his first front row start in his 58th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race and follows a third-place qualifying effort last weekend in Las Vegas.

“I thought we had a lot of speed all day, which is really nice,” Blaney said. “It’s nice to have good starting spots the last few weeks. We’ve been third and second this week. We’re creeping up on it and I really want a pole. I’ve never been a great qualifier, so it is something we’ve been working on as a team. I think we’ve got a really fast Motorcraft/Quicklane Ford Fusion.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified third, his best qualifying effort this season after returning from a concussion. Kyle Larson, who was fastest in the opening round of qualifying, will start fourth and his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Jamie McMurray qualified fifth.

The remainder of the top dozen were Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, rookie Erik Jones, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth.

Larson’s fastest lap in the first round of qualifying was a 26.336-second lap at 136.696 mph. He was followed by McMurray, Blaney, Logano and Earnhardt.

Michael McDowell, Danica Patrick and Daniel Suarez were the first three who failed to advance to round two.

Logano took his turn at the top of the charts in the second round with a 26.265-second lap at 137.065 mph. Blaney was second fastest, followed by Elliott, McMurray and Earnhardt.

The first three drivers who failed to advance to the final round were Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson and Ty Dillon. Las Vegas race winner Martin Truex Jr. qualified 16th and defending Camping World 500 winner Kevin Harvick will start 23rd on Sunday.

With only 39 cars on hand for qualifying, every team will start Sunday’s race. It is the third-straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race that failed to attract a full 40-car field.