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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)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, lead the field to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, races Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet SS, qualified seventh Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Menard is 17th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet SS, qualified sixth Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Harvick is 8th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, captured the pole position Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan NASCAR Sprint Cup 400 race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. The was Gordon`s second pole position this season. He set a new track record in the final round of qualifying with a lap of 206.558 mph. Gordon is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates capturing the pole position Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. The was Gordon`s second pole position this season. He set a new track record in the final round of qualifying with a lap of 206.558 mph. Gordon is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, sits in his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Will Schneekloth/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, qualifies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, and Joey Logano, driver of the #12 Snap-On Ford, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York.  (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York.  (Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Nelson Piquet Jr., driver of the #77 WORX Ford, prepares his equipment in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, looks on in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Smithfield Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 8, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Michael Baker International Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 3, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

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