Joey Logano’s first pole of the NASCAR Cup Series season comes at a valuable time for the Team Penske driver.
A lap of 191.646 mph was the fastest in the final round of qualifying, giving Logano the best possible starting spot for the Hollywood Casino 400 as he looks to protect a 39-point advantage in an elimination race and advance into the Round of 8.
The pole is the first of the season for Logano, his second at Kansas and 20th of his career. Logano is also a two-time Kansas winner, scoring wins in the 2014 and ’15 playoff races.
Logano said his No. 22 team made no changes to the car on Friday.
“They did a great job preparing this Shell/Pennzoil Ford, it unloaded with good speed, and we did a good job maintaining the speed we needed throughout the runs,” said Logano. “This is a fun place to qualify because it definitely rewards bigger guts. The more you go for it, the more the reward is, but the penalty is also pretty big too, we’ve seen that with some other cars.
“It’s a lot of fun qualifying. It’s nice. It’s been a while since we’ve got a pole, so it feels nice to be able to break through and start in a good spot for this final race cutoff.”
Joining Logano on the front row is the most recent Kansas winner, Kevin Harvick. Harvick, who started from the pole in the spring race, clocked in second at 191.178 mph.
Completing the top five in a Ford sweep are Aric Almirola (190.968 mph) and the two other Penske cars of Ryan Blaney (190.934 mph) and Brad Keselowski (190.725 mph).
All four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers qualified together, taking the sixth through ninth spots on the grid. Erik Jones clocked in at 190.570 mph, followed by Kyle Busch (190.543 mph), Daniel Suarez (190.449 mph) and then Denny Hamlin (190.027 mph).
Alex Bowman rounded out the top 10 at 189.994 mph. Playoff drivers Kurt Busch (189.593 mph) and Martin Truex Jr. (189.387 mph) were the slowest of those who made the final round. Truex is the defending race winner.
Two playoff drivers failed to make the final round of qualifying. Chase Elliott will start 13th knowing he is already locked into the Round of 8. Home hero Clint Bowyer will roll off from the 14th position as he looks to protect his spot on the playoff grid.
Kyle Larson was the only playoff driver who didn’t advance out of the first round of qualifying. In his backup car after crashing in practice, Larson clocked in 27th. However, because he’s in in a backup car he will start Sunday afternoon’s race from the rear of the field.
UP NEXT: Second practice at 10:30 a.m. ET Saturday.