Friday, September 17, 2021

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Logano wins pole as Penske sweeps front row for second straight week

At Phoenix International Raceway, it was Brad Keselowski grabbing the pole with his Team Penske teammate Joey Logano second. This weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it was the opposite as Joey Logano grabbed the pole with Keselowski second.

Logano would lap the track at 27.939 seconds to score his eighth career Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Award. The lap also marks a new track record for the mile and a half oval.

“They do a great job,” Logano said. “I told (Keselowski) we’re 1-to-1 now. Two weeks right off the bat to have a front row is awesome for Penske. It’s a privilege to drive these cars. Everything is clicking. Now we just need to put it all together and win the big one.”

This weekend marked the second time NASCAR has used the Knock-Out Qualifying format for the Sprint Cup Series. In the first 25 minute session, Brian Vickers set the quickest time ahead of Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Austin Dillon and Clint Bowyer. Then in the second session, Logano was quickest ahead of Bowyer, Jamie McMurray, Martin Truex Jr. and Keselowski.

Keselowski went out and set the quickest time early in the last session, though it was Logano that was able to top it later. Keselowski would end up second, only three hundreths off of the pole.

“I knew Joey was going to beat it,” he commented. “You know if you leave it out there, your teammate was going to get it. either way, it’s still a great front row – two weeks in a row. It doesn’t feel great to be second, so I know how he felt last week.”

Clint Bowyer would qualify third for his first top 10 start of 2014, followed by rookie Austin Dillon and Jimmie Johnson. Johnson is looking for his fifth career win at Las Vegas this weekend.

Last year’s Rookie of the Year Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was second, followed by McMurray, Aric Almirola, Vickers and Ryan Newman.

Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top 12.

Kasey Kahne would barely missed getting into the top 12 by a hundreth of a second. The driver of the No. 5 Farmer’s Insurance Chevrolet attributed that to not being able to get a solid lap in following wasted time due to a flat tire. Kahne would have a tire go flat and had to wait for NASCAR to allow him to change it with another tire the team had in their inventory.

“There’s just so much going on down here,” Kahne said. “When we had the flat tire, it took so long to get approved. There was no one around. If there’s going to be this much going on and hectic, they’ve got be aware and have more people knowing what’s going on.”

Kahne was followed by his Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. Last week’s winner Kevin Harvick would qualify 16th.

Once again, there were concerns following qualifying with regards to the cooling issues. Team are not allowed to use the cooling machines and as a result, drivers are riding around the apron to cool their cars.

“Riding the apron has to be done for cooling, but it’s the most dangerous thing I’ve done,” Vickers commented. “If he slips up at all, I’m done. I know we’re all working on it but something needs to be done.”

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