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Logano surprise polewinner at Infineon

Joey Logano will start NASCAR Sprint Cup's first road race of the year on pole position, and was as surprised as anyone to be on the top spot at Infineon Raceway in Sears Point, Sonoma.
Joey Logano isn't someone traditionally considered to be a strong performer on road courses, but he put the #20 on pole position at Infineon Raceway ahead of more fancied road specialists like Juan Montoya and Marcos Ambrose, and even ahead of the 'road ringers' like Boris Said, brought in specially by teams for the occasion.

"I never looked at myself as a road course racer," admitted the 21-year-old who handled the left- and right-turns at Sears Point with the gusto of a veteran. "This is the last place that I figured we'd get a pole.

"I was surprised. I felt like my lap was OK. I didn't feel like it was stellar, by no means," he said afterwards. "I didn't really think it was going to hold up, and I don't think any of my guys thought it was going to hold up. But we're really pumped up right now!"

Logano's achievement is all the more impressive given that the series' drivers most experienced with road courses - Marcos Ambrose and Juan Montoya - will start from eighth and 17th, while the road course specialists specially imported by teams for the event struggled, with Boris Said starting in 30th and Tony Ave failing to qualify in the #38 Ford subbing for Travis Kvapil.

It's only Logano's second Cup pole position in his series career, his best previous start here being 12th in his début in 2009. It makes him the youngest driver on a NASCAR road course pole, eclipsing the previous record holder Parnelli Jones who was 24 when he claimed pole at Riverside all the way back in 1958.

Logano put an end to the recent run of three consecutive pole positions for Penske's Kurt Busch, who could only manage 11th place in the unfamiliar road course surroundings after being fastest in the earlier practice session.

"We were fastest in practice but just couldn't put down the qualifying lap that we needed," said Busch. "We missed it in turns 4 and 7 and were just slow in 10. When you add all that up, you just can't give away that much time on this track."

His team mate Brad Keselowski will start from 15th.

Logano will instead be joined on the front row of the grid by Earnhardt Ganassi's Jamie McMurray, while Richard Childress Racing's Paul Menard claimed his best-ever road qualifying position to start third alongside Logano's Joe Gibbs Racing team mate Denny Hamlin, who will be hoping for back-to-back victories after winning last week at Michigan.

Mark Martin had two qualifying runs during the session, as the first was affected by a piece of metal debris on the track. His first time would have seen him in 25th place, but the second was 0.4s faster and put him in 16th place for the start of the race.




Related Pictures

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Joey Logano celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Award for the 23rd Annual Toyota/Save Mart 350 with a lap of 76.821 seconds, 93.256 mph. [Picture Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #6 AdvoCare Ford, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, poses in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, is involved in an on-track incident in front of Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota, and Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, as Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Hormel/Menards Toyota, drives away during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, and Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Hormel/Menards Toyota, race into turn one during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, March 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Johnson is seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.(Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano (left), driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert after winning the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Joey Logano (left), driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert after winning the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Brian Vickers, driver of the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, answers questions from media during a press conference before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. Vickers was forced to withdraw from competition due to blood clots. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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