MARTINSVILLE, Va.— When it comes to making the cut, Joey Logano is in elite company.
The only two drivers to make the final 12 in each of the five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series knockout qualifying sessions so far are Logano and six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson.
In fact, Logano set a track record (100.201 mph) Friday at Martinsville Speedway in leading the first round of qualifying for Sunday’s STP 500. In the second round, which determined the Coors Light Pole Award winner, Logano was third-fastest behind Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.
Logano has topped the speed chart in five of the 12 rounds of knockout qualifying held so far, under a format that features two rounds at tracks under 1.25 miles in length and three rounds at tracks 1.25 miles and longer.
“And we only have one pole (at Las Vegas), so I’m winning the wrong rounds, and it’s really frustrating me,” Logano quipped after Friday’s time trials.
Though Logano’s No. 22 Team Penske Ford was better in qualifying trim than in race trim, the 23-year-old driver from Middletown, Conn., wasn’t particularly concerned with the prospect of losing both Saturday practice sessions to rain.
“I still feel pretty good about it,” after Saturday morning’s practice was wiped out. “[Crew chief] Todd [Gordon] and I have talked a lot about what we need here to race well and kind of just what we’ve been doing at every other track.
“We don’t really show a ton of speed in practice, and we feel pretty good when the race starts, so even if it rains out today, it’s not the end of the world. I’m not really worried about it. Obviously, people take their practice to try things and learn something, but really, in all honesty, we’re OK. I feel like we have a shot at it.”
Logano will have to wait until Sunday to find out if he’s right. Rain subsequently forced cancelation of final practice, and no Sprint Cup cars got track time on Saturday.