Joey Logano captures fourth pole of season at Kansas Speedway
Joey Logano seems to have finally gotten this qualifying thing figured out.
Logano won the pole for Saturday night's SpongeBob SquarePants 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway, lapping the 1.5-mile track at 192.397 mph in his No. 22 Team Penske Ford.
In the first six years of his Sprint Cup career, Logano earned just eight poles in total, but in the first 11 races of 2015, he's already claimed the No. 1 starting spot four times.
"Last year it took us pretty much the whole year to get one pole and we won a lot of first and second sessions and would fall on our face in the third session," Logano said. "It is good to figure out the third session and have speed in our car when we get there. You don't get anything for winning the first and second round. That is what I figured out last year."
Logano said he and crew chief Todd Gordon worked hard on qualifying strategy.
"We only had one pole last year," Logano said. "It is hard to say we were great with only one pole. Todd and I talked about it a lot and learned some things going through the sessions on what to do to make sure we were fast in the third session. You have to learn the strategy that goes into these qualifying sessions. It isn't like it used to be with one lap."
Kasey Kahne was second fast in the first of the four Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets, with a best lap of 191.911 mph. Then it was Logano's teammate and 2012 series champion Brad Keselowski, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and the Furniture Row Chevrolet.
Kahne was happy with his qualifying run and optimistic about his prospects on Saturday night.
"It was a really good lap and my best lap of the day so I feel good about that and what we are bringing tomorrow night," Kahne said. "We had some good practices today and Keith Rodden (crew chief) and the guys are doing a really nice job and hopefully we can bring that again tomorrow night."
Carl Edwards was the first of the Toyotas in fifth, with rookie teammate Erik Jones 12th in his first attempt at Cup qualifying.
"It was a little disappointing because we'd run better laps in our first two rounds, but we just tried to make an adjustment there to take a stab at trying to go faster," said Jones, who is subbing for the injured Kyle Busch. "It just didn't work out. We have a good race car; the M&M's Camry should be good for the race. Just the adjustment we tried to make didn't work out right there."
Danica Patrick was the biggest name to fail to make it out of the first of the three rounds of qualifying. She will start Saturday's race from the 27th position.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was one of those who didn't move from beyond the second round. He qualified his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 17th, just ahead of 2003 series champion Matt Kenseth and six-time champion Jimmie Johnson. Three-time series champ Tony Stewart was 16th.
The only driver who missed the show was Brendan Gaughan.