NASCAR »

Keselowski on Phoenix pole in Penske lock-out

Team Penske was firmly in control of qualifying in Phoenix with Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano topping both sessions in the new-look elimination process.
Full qualifying and practice times from Friday

Adjusting to the first-ever outing for the new-look 'elimination process' qualifying format in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship proved no problem at all for Team Penske at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday.

Perhaps benefitting from its experience of a similar process used in the IndyCar Series, Penske quickly put Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano at the top of the timesheets in the first 30 minute round, and then repeated the feat in the shorter second round reserved for the top 12 cars.

Logano was fastest in the all-comers stage with a time of 25.864s (139.190mph), but he couldn't quite match Keselowski's subsequent 25.828s (139.384mph), a new track record for PIR set during the pole shootout round that fixed the front six rows for Sunday's 'The Profit on CNBC 500' event, the second race in the 2014 Cup season.

"We had a really fast car and there is some pride to be taken in being the first one to win a Sprint Cup pole in this format.," said Keselowski afterwards. "It was just a matter of executing on my end. We were able to do that. I didn't think I ran a good enough lap to be quite honest - when they told me the time, I said, 'Alright, I will take it.'"

With this being just his fourth pole position in 163 Cup starts, Keselowski said that he liked the new group qualifying format and that it definitely suited his style better than the old single-run, all-or-nothing time trials.

"I think qualifying has been one of those formats that I have struggled with," he admitted. "It just didn't suit my style in the past. This qualifying format really does suit my style a lot better. It gives me a chance to learn and apply which to me was instrumental to our success today and hopefully will be in how we go forward.

"It is interesting how a small format change like this can favor or disfavor teams and individuals and this is one that we have been able to take like a fish to water. Hopefully we will continue to do that," he added. "It is a lot more nerve-wracking and there is usually a pretty good rule of thumb that if it is a lot more nerve-wracking for drivers then it is usually a lot more fun for fans and partners and all those things.

"I am sure it will undergo a few adjustments along the way but it is very rewarding and a testament to my team and how fast of a car they gave me."

Logano eventually missed out on pole by just 0.022s but could take consolation in starting alongside his team mate on the front row on Sunday.

"I am the first loser - oh well," he signed. "Team Penske being one and two in the first time out doing this thing just goes to show all the hard work over the off-season. Phoenix, the first race track we go to where handling comes into play. All that hard work you get to show it off for the first time."

Keselowski and Logano both benefitted from setting their first round times early in the session while there was a little more cloud cover around cooling the track. The session was then briefly red-flagged for a spin by Justin Allgaier, and later runners weren't able to quite match their pace.

In addition, setting their times early meant that both Penske drivers could then park up on pit road and allow their cars to cool down without putting any more wear on their tyres, which teams aren't able to change during the qualifying session.

Proving their speed early might prove a special benefit for Penske this weekend, with forecasts for the area suggesting that much of Saturday's track activity which includes two further Cup practice sessions might be rained off - an irony given that PIR is located in the normally arid desert region around Avondale in Arizona.

Full qualifying and practice times from Friday



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series The Profit on CNBC 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on February 28, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Ford, Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford, drive off pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series The Profit on CNBC 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on February 28, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, celebrates setting the pole position in qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series The Profit on CNBC 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on February 28, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.