Joey Logano has figured out “The Paperclip.”
With a lap of 96.504 mph, Logano won the pole for today’s First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Logano swept all three rounds of qualifying and will start from the top spot for the fourth time in the last six Martinsville races.
The pole is also the second of the season for Logano after he was fastest at Phoenix in the spring. It is the 19th of his career and a bright spot for the No. 22 team after it failed to make the postseason and have been winless since April.
“Finally! It feels really good,” Logano said. “I think the last time we were here Truex got us be a few thousandths, so it’s cool to flip-flop that again. We have a good Shell/Pennzoil Ford that the team put together for me this weekend. I’ve got something to race with this week. I’m really excited about the race and starting up front is always a big deal here.
“We may not get the good pit stall that we would want, but starting towards the front is always a nice thing to have. You can set your own pace and kind of take care of your car. When you start in the back it starts beating up on your car, which at some point you may end up back there with strategy, but I feel good about the car we’ve got this week and it’s something we can race with.”
While Logano has started no worse than sixth in his last 10 Martinsville races, he is still seeking his first win at the track. Starting alongside the No. 22 will be playoff leader Martin Truex Jr. Truex laid down a fast lap of 96.479 mph.
The rest of the top five are Chase Elliott (96.435 mph), Ryan Blaney (96.122 mph) and Clint Bowyer (96.112 mph). Starting sixth will be five-time Martinsville winner and Virginia native Denny Hamlin.
In starting spots seventh through 10th will be Brad Keselowski, Erik Jones, Kyle Larson, and Aric Almirola. Jones is in a backup car after crashing in final practice Saturday afternoon.
Playoff drivers Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch failed to advance out of round two. Harvick will start 13th and Busch will start 14th.
Also failing to advance out of the second round was Jimmie Johnson. The defending race winner wheel-hopped going into Turn 3 and spun his No. 48 Chevrolet. Fortunately, Johnson kept his car off the wall. However, he will come from the rear of the field as the team has decided to change the gear and axles.
“Wheel hopped into Turn 3 and fortunately didn’t kill the car,” Johnson said. “So, I got lucky there.”
UP NEXT: The First Data 500 at 3 p.m. ET.