The Chevrolets were fast all throughout practice and qualifying, but Joey Logano’s Team Penske Ford will lead the field to the green flag in Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
The driver of the No. 22 Ford swapped the top spot with Martin Truex Jr. early in Round 3 of knockout qualifying, before Ryan Newman was able to jump to second.
The Daytona 500 champion was able to hold on to earn his second pole of the 2015 season and his first at Martinsville Speedway.
While this was Logano’s first pole at the 0.53-mile speedway, he did set the track record last October. That fast lap came in an earlier round of qualifying and he was beat out by Jamie McMurray for the top spot. For that reason, Friday’s pole-winning run was extra special.
"It feels great to finally get the pole here," said Logano. "We’ve been close so many times and throughout my career I feel like we’ve always qualified well here, but was never able to get a pole. I caught a hard time about getting the track record here and not getting the pole, so to have a pole to back that up feels great. You win anything at Martinsville it’s a big deal."
Newman will start Sunday’s race from the second spot, followed by Truex, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, AJ Allmendinger, Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski.
Defending race winner Kurt Busch will start from the 26th spot.
Newman and Stewart held on to the top two spots to end Round 2, followed by Gordon, Allmendinger, Johnson, Larson, Keselowski, Logano, Kahne, Kenseth, Truex and Edwards.
Among those not advancing to the final round were Dale Earnhardt Jr. (14th), Denny Hamlin (15th), Danica Patrick (16th) and Kevin Harvick (17th)
With just under four minutes remaining in Round 2, Justin Allgaier’s No. 51 HScott Motorsports Chevrolet got loose in Turn 1 and made contact with the outside wall to bring out the red flag.
Allgaier wasn’t the only driver with an issue in Round 2. Casey Mears was preparing to make his first run in the session, but broke a transmission in his No. 13 Germain Racing Chevrolet. Mears will officially qualify 24th, but will have to start Sunday’s race from the rear.
The Chevrolets came out strong in Round 1, capturing the majority of the top 10 spots in the opening minutes of the session.
However, Kenseth broke the Chevrolet dominance by running his fastest lap of Round 1 on Lap 5, putting the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota atop the leaderboard with just under nine minutes left in the session.
Logano followed suit by putting his No. 22 Team Penske Ford second on the charts, breaking up the bow tie party atop the leaderboard.
At the end of Round 1 Kenseth and Logano led the way, followed by Johnson, Newman, Truex, Kahne, Allmendinger, Stenhouse, Hamlin, Edwards to round out the top 10.
With two minutes, 45 seconds left in Round 1, Ron Hornaday Jr. crashed his No. 30 Chevrolet going into Turn 3 and had significant damage to the right front and right rear of his car. Needing to make the show on time, Hornaday failed to qualify for Sunday’s STP 400.
Brendan Gaughan also failed to make the race.
Chase Elliott was unable to advance to Round 2 of the qualifying session, but was able to make the race. The son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, the Hendrick Motorsports driver will start 27th for his Sprint Cup debut.