Joey Logano won the NASCAR Cup Series pole Saturday with a 168.521 mph lap at Darlington Raceway. He will lead the field to green for the Cook Out Southern 500 Sunday evening in the first race of the Playoffs.
That makes the Team Penske driver two for two, after also winning the pole at Darlington in May. It was his 24th career pole in the series.
“It’s obviously nice to start up front,” Logano said. “We got a taste of what that first pit stall means here at Darlington and it’s nice, for sure. It’s nice to be able to get that, but it’s just a start.
“We still have a full 500 miles to go,” he continued, “but, like I said, that first pit stall will pay a dividend throughout the whole race, so we’ll fire off and see what we’ve got tomorrow.
“Going off of practice from the spring to the race the first time, the track was much different in the race than it was in the practice. You’ve got to kind of assume some of it is gonna happen again tomorrow, so we’ll try to adjust on our car a little bit for race trim. I think we need a little bit there, but I don’t think we’re that far off. If we get a little bit more turn in our car, we’ll be right there.”
Christopher Bell, with a 168.469 mph lap, will start beside him on the front row in his JGR Toyota followed by William Byron, Tyler Reddick, and Kyle Busch to complete the top five. Austin Cindric, Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace, Ryan Blaney and Michael McDowell rounded out the top 10 in the qualifying session.
Chase Elliot, who enters the Playoffs in the top spot, qualified a disappointing 23rd and he was not alone. Several other Playoff contenders had mediocre runs including Denny Hamlin (11), Ross Chastain (12), Austin Dillon (13), Alex Bowman (16), Kevin Harvick (18), Chase Briscoe (19), and Daniel Suarez (36).
Notes: Daniel Suárez failed pre-race inspection three times Saturday morning and did not make a qualifying attempt. He will have to start the race at the rear of the field and will also have to serve a pass-through penalty in his No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet.
You can tune into the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs opening race at Darlington Raceway on Sunday evening at 6 p.m. ET on the USA Network, NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.Cup-Starting-Lineup-Darlington-2227_STARTROW