Logano claims first All-Star Race pole; Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 team wins Pit Crew Challenge

Joey Logano achieved a silver lining amid a difficult first-half span of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series regular-season stretch by claiming the pole position for the 2024 NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway on Saturday, May 18. 

The starting lineup for this year’s All-Star Race was determined through a special qualifying format infused with the return of the Pit Crew Challenge that was postponed to early Saturday afternoon after the qualifying session’s initial occurrence on Friday night, May 17, was canceled due to ongoing precipitation. 

For the format, each competitor eligible for the All-Star Race exited pit road and commenced their qualifying session by taking the green flag and cycling once around the North Wilkesboro Speedway circuit for a full lap before making a mandatory four-tire pit stop with a mock fuel run in a designated pit stall during the second lap. At the conclusion of the pit stops the competitors would return to the track and race back to the checkered flag to conclude their qualifying session. 

With a fast three-lap qualifying session of one minute, 29.75 seconds, that included his four-tire pit stop, Logano, who was the sixth of 17 competitors to qualify through the event’s qualifying order, will start on pole position for the All-Star Race for the first time in his career as this season will mark his 14th career start in the All-Star event. In addition, Logano, who will contend for his second All-Star victory and first since 2016, will start on the pole for the first of two 60-lap All-Star Heat events that will occur on Saturday evening. 

“[I’m] Very proud of the whole team,” Logano said on FS1. “This qualifying session is the most fun session of the year. It really takes every crew member all the way through. Everybody’s got to do their part to make it happen and that’s why it means a lot to get an All-Star pole. Obviously, a great starting spot. Get a little momentum booster for our team.”

While Logano emerged as the fastest on the track amid his three-lap qualifying session, his No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang Dark Horse pit crew led by crew chief Paul Wolfe posted the fifth-fastest pit session at 13.592 seconds.  

The team that emerged as this year’s Mechanix Wear Pit Crew Challenge winner was the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry XSE pit crew led by Adam Stevens and piloted by Christopher Bell, with the team generating the fastest four-tire pit service during Bell’s qualifying run at 13.223 seconds. Ironically, Bell’s pit crew features the same crew members that won the 2023 Pit Crew Challenge while servicing Ty Gibbs and the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team to pole position for the 2023 All-Star Open. Despite Bell posting the third-fastest qualifying run on the track in one minute, 30.17 seconds, his No. 20 team has the first choice of pit stall selection for the All-Star event as they also claim a $100,000 prize. In addition, Bell will start alongside Logano for the first 60-lap Heat event on Saturday evening.

“What can you say? This is two in a row for these guys and they’ve been awesome,” Bell said. “I’m incredibly happy for them and honored to be their driver. That was a lot of fun.”

“I wouldn’t want to battle with no other guys and I wouldn’t want to do it for no other driver than Christopher Bell,” Derrell Edwards. Bell’s jackman, added. “We knew it was gonna come down to a Joe Gibbs [Racing] crew, which was special to say. We’ve been good, man. Back to back, baby.”

“I’m blessed to be with a good group of guys,” Michael Hicks, Bell’s rear tire changer, added. “I couldn’t do this if I didn’t have a good supporting cast. [The No. 20 crew] are the best on pit road. We got a stud for a driver. It’s awesome to win with these guys.”

Brad Keselowski, winner of last weekend’s Cup event at Darlington Raceway, posted the second-fastest three-lap qualifying session in one minute, 30.14 seconds as he will start on the pole for the second Heat event that will occur on Saturday evening. His No. 6 Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing Ford Mustang Dark Horse pit crew led by crew chief Matt McCall posted the second-best four-tire pit service in 13.323 seconds. 

Daniel Suarez and Chris Buescher qualified in the top five while Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain, Martin Truex Jr., Michael McDowell and AJ Allmendinger rounded out the top 10 in the qualifying session. 

Notably, Kevin Harvick qualified in the 12th position in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 entry while serving as a standby competitor for Kyle Larson, who is qualifying for the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Arrow McLaren. 

Denny Hamlin posted the 11th-fastest qualifying run while William Byron, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ryan Blaney rounded out the 17-car field of competitors currently guaranteed starting spots for this year’s All-Star Race. 

Qualifying Results/Time: 

1. Joey Logano, 1:29.75 

2. Brad Keselowski, 1:30.14 

3. Christopher Bell, 1:30.17 

4. Daniel Suarez, 1:30.20 

5. Chris Buescher, 1:30.29 

6. Tyler Reddick, 1:30.67 

7. Ross Chastain, 1:30.77 

8. Martin Truex Jr., 1:30.95 

9. Michael McDowell, 1:30.99 

10. AJ Allmendinger, 1:31.67 

11. Denny Hamlin, 1:31.85 

12. Kevin Harvick, 1:36.33 

13. William Byron, 1:39.54 

14. Kyle Busch, 1:39.79 

15. Chase Elliott, 1:42.52 

16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 1:43.31 

17. Ryan Blaney, 1:49.89 

Pit Crew Challenge Results/Time:

1. Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota, 13.223 seconds

2. Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing No. 6 Ford, 13.323 seconds

3. Team Penske No. 12 Ford, 13.514 seconds

4. Trackhouse Racing No. 1 Chevrolet, 13.523 seconds

5. Team Penske No. 22 Ford, 13.592 seconds.

6. Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet, 13.842 seconds

7. 23XI Racing No. 45 Toyota, 13.954 seconds

8. Richard Childress Racing No. 8 Chevrolet, 13.981 seconds

9. Trackhouse Racing No. 99 Chevrolet, 14.039 seconds

10. Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota, 14.072 seconds

11. Kaulig Racing No. 16 Chevrolet, 14.180 seconds

12. Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing No. 17 Ford, 14.185 seconds

13. Front Row Motorsports No. 34 Ford, 14.389 seconds

14. Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota, 15.387 seconds

15. Hendrick Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet, 16.939 seconds

16. Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet, 17.949 seconds

17. JTG-Daugherty Racing No. 47 Chevrolet, 25.741 seconds

The 2024 NASCAR All-Star Race festivities continue with a pair of All-Star Race Heat events that will commence on Saturday evening at 5:20 p.m. ET on FS2 and set the rest of the starting lineup for this year’s All-Star Race. The 2024 All-Star Race is scheduled to occur on Sunday, May 19, at 8 p.m. ET on FS1. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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