Joey Logano schools rookie Ryan Blaney at Phoenix

AVONDALE, AZ - MARCH 17: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying in the pole position for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 17, 2017 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Joey Logano will start where he left off last fall at Phoenix. The last NASCAR Cup winner at Phoenix back in November, Logano ran a lap of 26.216 seconds, 137.321 miles per hour Friday at Phoenix International Raceway to score the pole for Sunday’s Monster Energy Cup Series Camping World 500.

“I am glad we finally got a pole here,” Logano said. “We have qualified really well here, I don’t know what our average starting position is but I feel like it is really good, but we have never really put the whole deal together in the last run. We have won plenty of rounds but have never actually gotten the pole. I am glad we could finally do that. I thought it wasn’t going to be good enough. My one and two were good but three and four were tight and I was coming up the race track and I didn’t think it was it. But it was good enough to get the pole.”

The top spot came at the expense of rookie driver Ryan Blaney.  The Wood Brothers driver had the pole on his second lap with just over 1:45 to go in the final five minutes, watching Logano take the pole with less the 30 seconds to go.  Nonetheless, the starting spot is the best of Blaney’s young Cup career.

“That is something I felt like we wanted to improve a lot in the offseason, getting better qualifying, getting better round to round,” Blaney said. “That is the toughest thing, to adjust for three of them. That was really hard on us last year. So we sat down, my team and I, and tried to figure out what we need and what is more important, going from round to round, and what really helps our car. The last two weekends we have shown really good speed in qualifying trim. It is nice to have fast race cars.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start third. He had the pole for much of the final five minutes after being the first car out. Kyle Larson who led the first of the three rounds of qualifying, and the second practice earlier will start fourth; his teammate Jamie McMurray rolls off fifth.

Logano’s teammate and last week’s pole winner at Vegas will start sixth, Chase Elliott who led Friday’s first practice will start seventh, Erik Jones eighth with Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne rounding out the top 10. Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth were the final of the top qualifiers to make it through to the final round.

The only incident of the three rounds came in the first 20 minutes when the crew of Earnhardt Jr. reported the wheel chock from the rear tire was missing and could be on track. Officials immediately red flag the session until the chock was accounted for in the pits.

The pole was the 18th of Logano’s career, and his first at Phoenix after starting second twice.

With 39 entries, no team was sent home.

Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 500 will get the green flag just after 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday with live coverage on Fox starting at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.