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Logano sets record to claim Pocono pole

Joey Logano claimed pole position for Sunday afternoon's Pocono 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Joey Logano will lead the field to the green flag in Sunday's Pocono 400 Cup race, after setting a new qualifying lap record time of 50.112s (179.598mph) in qualifying on Saturday.

"It's cool to get a pole here, get a new track record here too," said Logano. "That's really neat. Hopefully, it holds up for a while."

In fact, fully 36 drivers in the field beat the previous record lap speed of 172.533mph set by Kasey Kahne in 2004, as drivers found the smoother surface of the newly resurfaced track much more conducive to going flat out that the old bumpy asphalt that had been in place since 1995.

But the 2.5-mile triangular track still threw up some surprises for the drivers, despite their having spent several days mid-week testing on the new surface prior to the start of official practice for this weekend's race.

One was the amount of dirt laid down by Friday afternoon's ARCA practice in turn 1: Logano said that he felt he had lost about a tenth of a second or more through that corner as a result - "Man, I felt like I left a little bit out there ... but I felt like I nailed 2 and 3 pretty well," he added.

Logano was a relatively early runner in qualifying, and with successive runs cleaning up the track and laying down more grip as the session went on, logic dictated that speeds would climb still further. The really big surprise of the day, therefore, was that they didn't.

"I think it's really hard to determine what makes this track faster right now," said Carl Edwards, who set the second fastest time of the day and will start the Pocono 400 alongside Logano. "I don't know if being a little warmer makes it faster. I thought, as we went on and that speedy-dry and the groove got cleaned off, that people would go a lot faster, so it's a surprise to me."

There was no mystery about why Denny Hamlin failed to claim pole position away from his JGR team mate Logano when he had looked well on course to set the fastest time of the afternoon: a fuel line broke on his car and he did well to not spin on his own oil as a result.

That left Denny Hamlin starting on the third row of the grid in fifth place alongside veteran racer Mark Martin, who had topped the first practice session on Friday. Between them and the front row are Paul Menard in third place and Kyle Busch in fourth.




Related Pictures

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Joey Logano climbs from the #20 The Home Depot Toyota after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR at Pocono Raceway on Saturday in Long Pond, Pa. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #20 The Home Depot Toyota, looks at his phone with crew chief Jason Ratcliff during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR at Pocono Raceway on Saturday in Long Pond, Pa. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 25, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace, Jr., driver of the #34 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Wendell Scott Toyota, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 25, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace, Jr., driver of the #34 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Wendell Scott Toyota, poses with the Keystone Light Pole award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 25, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, sits in his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 25, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet SS qualified for 33rd position after hitting the wall Friday, October 24, 2014 for Sunday`s  Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Harvick, who is in the Chase, is 2nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.  (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS qualified for 9th position Friday, October 24, 2014 for Sunday`s  Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Newman, who is in the Chase, is 3rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS qualified for 13th position Friday, October 24, 2014 for Sunday`s  Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Gordon, who is in the Chase, is 7th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.  (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS won the pole position and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS qualified for 16th position Friday, October 24, 2014 for Sunday`s  Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. McMurray, who is not in the Chase, is 19th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. This was McMurray`s 2nd Pole win this season. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald`s Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 24, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, climbs into his car prior to qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 24, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace, Jr., driver of the #34 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Wendell Scott Toyota, laughs before practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 24, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace, Jr., driver of the #34 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Wendell Scott Toyota, leads Ben Kennedy, driver of the #31 Heater.com Chevrolet, during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 24, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, looks on in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 24, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, looks on during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on October 24, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, sits in his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 24, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, left, talks with crew chief Alan Gustafson in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 24, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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