Tuesday February 27th, 2024 9:51AM

Logano wins pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup title race

By Reid Spencer and Holly Cain-NASCAR Wire Service

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Joey Logano took the first step toward a second NASCAR Cup Series championship on Saturday afternoon by winning the pole position for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race.

Logano navigated the one-mile Phoenix Raceway in 26.788 seconds (134.389 mph) in the final round of time trials to edge Team Penske teammate and non-Playoff driver Ryan Blaney (134.373 mph) by .003 seconds for the top starting spot in the event that will crown the 2022 series champion.

“That’s the goal,” Logano said. “It keeps the pressure on the competition.”

But Logano didn’t think he had a pole-winning lap when he ran it.

“No, because it went slower than the run before (in the opening round),” he said. “It seemed like tire falloff was a real thing. I kind of got done with my lap and was like, ‘Eh.’ I thought it was going to be like third or fourth probably, just not as good as what it was the first run.

“I overcompensated some of the adjustments I wanted to make as a driver and probably didn’t adjust the car enough as much as we needed to for some other things, but I guess everybody’s tires fell off, and that was a better lap than I thought it was.”

With Ford drivers sweeping the top three positions on the grid, Chase Briscoe qualified third at 134.203 mph, followed by Kyle Larson (133.844 mph), whose No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet is eligible for the owners’ championship but not the drivers’ title.

Championship 4 driver Chase Elliott (133.437 mph) will start fifth. Like Logano, Elliott is seeking a second Cup Series title.

“The narrative is there for the writing, and it’s our job to make sure it goes our way,” said Elliott, who hasn’t been at his best in the Playoffs so far.

Non-Playoff drivers Harrison Burton, Kevin Harvick, William Byron, Cole Custer and Ty Gibbs will start from positions six through 10, respectively.

The two drivers who advanced to the Championship 4 with eleventh-hour heroics last Sunday at Martinsville Speedway — race winner Christopher Bell and rim rider Ross Chastain — will start at a disadvantage on Sunday after failing to make the final round.

Bell will start 17th and Chastain 25th in Sunday’s title race.

“The weekend definitely hasn’t started off how any of us had planned.” Bell said. “I was really happy with the changes that they made to the car overnight from practice to qualifying. I think that was a really big positive.”

“I was too loose on the throttle,” said Chastain, who was fastest in Friday’s practice but out of balance in qualifying trim. “It’s a great thing for (Sunday) but not good right now.”

WDUN will carry live MRN Radio coverage of Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series season finale at Phoenix Raceway at 2 pm on 102.9 FM and streaming live on AccessWDUN.

NASCAR Cup Series
Phoenix Raceway – Avondale, AZ
NCS Championship Race – November 5, 2022

Saturday’s Qualifying Results

Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed
1. 22 Joey Logano (P) Shell Pennzoil Ford 26.788 134.389
2. 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Dutch Boy Ford 26.791 134.373
3. 14 Chase Briscoe Mahindra Tractors Ford 26.825 134.203
4. 5 Kyle Larson HendrickCars.com Chevrolet 26.897 133.844
5. 9 Chase Elliott (P) NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 26.979 133.437
6. 21 Harrison Burton # Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford 27.011 133.279
7. 4 Kevin Harvick Busch Light Ford 27.056 133.057
8. 24 William Byron Axalta Chevrolet 27.090 132.890
9. 41 Cole Custer HaasTooling.com Ford 27.125 132.719
10. 23 Ty Gibbs(i) Monster Energy Toyota 27.175 132.475
11. 8 Tyler Reddick Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Chevrolet 26.831 134.173
12. 19 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops Toyota 26.846 134.098
13. 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 26.873 133.963
14. 2 Austin Cindric # Discount Tire Ford 26.874 133.958
15. 3 Austin Dillon Get Bioethanol Chevrolet 26.877 133.944
16. 16 A.J. Allmendinger(i) Celsius Chevrolet 26.880 133.929
17. 20 Christopher Bell (P) DeWalt Toyota 26.881 133.924
18. 6 Brad Keselowski Kohler Generators Ford 26.903 133.814
19. 17 Chris Buescher Fastenal Ford 26.932 133.670
20. 34 Michael McDowell Love’s Travel Stops Ford 26.943 133.615
21. 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota 27.009 133.289
22. 18 Kyle Busch M&M’s Thank You Fans! Toyota 27.015 133.259
23. 45 Bubba Wallace McDonald’s Toyota 27.021 133.230
24. 48 Alex Bowman Ally Chevrolet 27.025 133.210
25. 1 Ross Chastain (P) Worldwide Express/Advent Health Chevrolet 27.064 133.018
26. 31 Justin Haley LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet 27.071 132.984
27. 7 Corey LaJoie Schluter Systems Chevrolet 27.085 132.915
28. 99 Daniel Suarez Freeway Insurance/CommScope Chevrolet 27.114 132.773
29. 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fry’s/Nature Valley Chevrolet 27.143 132.631
30. 43 Erik Jones FOCUSfactor Chevrolet 27.226 132.227
31. 38 Todd Gilliland # Boot Barn Ford 27.256 132.081
32. 42 Ty Dillon Black Rifle Coffee Company Chevrolet 27.292 131.907
33. 78 B.J. McLeod(i) Pala Casino Ford 27.561 130.619
34. 51 Cody Ware Nurtec ODT (Rimegepant) Ford 27.718 129.880
35. 15 Garrett Smithley(i) Jacob Companies Ford 27.787 129.557
36. 77 Landon Cassill(i) Mutoh/General Formulations Chevrolet 28.414 126.698

(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (P) Playoff driver

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