Joey Logano, driving the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, will start from the pole for the 67th Annual STP 500. Logano topped all three rounds of qualifying to win the Coors Light Pole Award for the third consecutive time at Martinsville Speedway and is the first driver since Jeff Gordon in 2003-04 to accomplish this feat.
Logano has 15 career pole awards in 261 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and this is his first pole for the 2016 season. With three consecutive pole awards Logano joins the list with four other drivers to accomplish this: Glen Wood (1959-1960), Darrell Waltrip (1979-1980), Mark Martin (1990-1991) and Gordon (2003-2004). Logano also holds the track qualifying record set in March 2014 with a time of 18.898 seconds or a speed of 100.201 mph.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these guys,” Logano said of his crew. “I say all the time that Martinsville is the most important track to start up front, and that’s when you’ve got to come here and really show what you’ve got.”
“We don’t have one of those trophies yet,” Logano said pointing at the grandfather clock, which will be awarded to the race winner, in the media center. “We’ve figured out the qualifying part really well. This is a nice little fire for us to get going. We’ve had a good season so far, but you want to break through and get some wins, and this pole is definitely going to help with some momentum.”
Logano claimed the pole with his final speed of 97.043 mph, just edging out Kasey Kahne, who continually improved during the three qualifying rounds, with a top speed of 97.033 mph. Logano ran five laps in the final session while Kahne ran three laps.
“It feels good,” said Kahne, who has only one top-10 finish for the first five races of the season. “The car was really fast, this Great Clips Chevrolet. The guys did a nice job in practice and in qualifying. I just kept getting better with my laps. That was one of my goals today, was to help out on pit road, pit road is huge here. I think all that will be beneficial on Sunday.”
Brian Vickers, who is substituting for an injured Tony Stewart, will start third. Paul Menard will start fourth, followed by Ryan Newman in fifth. Sixth through twelfth are as follows: A.J. Allmendinger, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup race will be held on Sunday, April 3, with coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 for the STP 500.