Joey Logano has figured out Martinsville Speedway. Not only is the Team Penske driver the most recent winner at the Virginia short track, but for the fifth time in the last nine races it will be Logano leading the field to the green flag. Logano was quickest in the final round of NASCAR Cup Series qualifying Saturday evening, putting down a lap of 97.830 mph.
“I don’t know why every time I qualify here I’m huffing and puffing after a few laps,” Logano said. “You just have to be so precise, and you’re pushing yourself so hard down into the corners, and a mistake has such a big penalty when you get loose. And you’re right on the edge of these tires, and if you go over that edge a little bit, it’s the difference between qualifying first or eighth or ninth because the field is so close.
“It’s awesome to get another pole here at Martinsville, and hopefully we can top it off with another win with the Shell/Pennzoil Mustang. This is a fun race. I always look forward to coming up here and hopefully this is another win in the books. Hopefully.”
Logano nipped Aric Almirola for the top spot late in the round. Almirola will start second after clocking in at 97.643 mph.
Completing the top five in qualifying were Brad Keselowski at 97.457 mph, Kevin Harvick at 97.382 mph, and Denny Hamlin at 97.362 mph. Hamlin was fastest in both the first and second rounds.
William Byron will start sixth following a lap of 97.202 mph with Kyle Larson seventh at 97.097 mph. The rest of the top 10 were Chase Elliott at 97.052 mph, Martin Truex Jr. at 97.018 mph, and Daniel Suarez at 96.829 mph.
Defending race winner Clint Bowyer will start 11th. He clocked in at 96.705 mph.
Those eliminated after the second round of qualifying included Kyle Busch (14th), Ryan Blaney (18th), and Kurt Busch (20th).
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was among those eliminated in the first round. Stenhouse had to make an additional run after his time was disallowed when he was called for speeding on pit road. NASCAR announced it was going to begin enforcing pit road speed limits in qualifying last weekend. Stenhouse qualified 25th.
Neither Corey LaJoie or Cody Ware attempted a qualifying lap in their respective backup cars after crashing earlier in the day.
UP NEXT: STP 500 at 2 p.m. ET Sunday.