Joey Logano earns pole for Sprint Cup race at Richmond
The seemingly endless battle between Team Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing continued at Richmond International Raceway on Friday as Joey Logano earned the pole for the Sprint Cup Series’ Federated Auto Parts 400.
With a speed of 126.470 mph, Logano edged out JGR’s Matt Kenseth (126.470) for his fifth pole of the season.
“Qualifying here is so interesting because the tires wear out so much during each run,” Logano told NBCSN. “Kind of interesting to see if you’re fast in one run the adjustments you need to make to be there at the end.”
Logano has now swept the poles for the spring and fall races at Richmond.
“It’s funny because my guys are giving me a hard time because I just qualified second in the Xfinity race coming up and I missed it by a hundredth of a second.’
The top five is a Penske-JGR playground with Brad Keselowski starting third (126.351) and Kyle Busch taking fourth (125.950).
Michael Waltrip Racing’s David Ragan will start fifth.
Logano later told media that Kenseth’s “exceptional” car is the one to beat Saturday night. Kenseth was looking to earn his fourth pole of the year.
“It’s hard to be disappointed with second, but I’m really disappointed with second,” Kenseth told NBCSN. Kenseth had been the fastest in the first two rounds and said his No. 20 Camry was “awesome” on sticker tires.
“I didn’t do (Turns) 1 and 2 right, I got a little too aggressive getting back to the gas and messed up my center and my exit (from the turn),” Kenseth said.
It’s the second pole in two weeks for Penske after Keselowski earned it at Darlington Raceway for the Southern 500 before JGR’s Carl Edwards won the race.
The two races before that saw JGR poles from Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth but with both team splitting the victories, with Logano winning at Bristol and Kenseth at Michigan.
Jeff Gordon, in his last race at Richmond, will start 23rd.