Logano screws up, wins pole for Charlotte ROVAL

CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 08: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses for photos after winning the pole award during qualifying for NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 08, 2022 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Joey Logano wasn’t pleased with the way he negotiated the final chicane at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course.

The good news was that the final section of the 17-turn track—which is actually the opening chicane of the alternative qualifying configuration—didn’t hurt his effort significantly in Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series time trials.

Turning a lap in 120.755 seconds (103.424 mph), Logano secured the pole position for Sunday’s Round of 12 elimination race in the Cup Series Playoffs, the Bank of America ROVAL 400 (2 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

In earning his third Busch Light Pole Award of the season and the 25th of his career, Logano edged William Byron (103.300 mph) for the top starting spot by .097 seconds.

“It was OK,” Logano said of his qualifying lap. “I felt like I screwed up the final chicane here. I screwed up the first run and made it through (to the final round), and I screwed up half as bad the second time trying to adjust but not over-adjust and I under-adjusted myself at least, but the (No. 22) Shell/Pennzoil Mustang has some speed in it, obviously.

“It was really good through the rest of the racetrack. Starting up front is nice. Hopefully, we can do what we need to do this weekend. Our job is to get into the next round, and we’ll figure out what we need from here, but this is a great starting spot, for sure.

“We’ve got a good pit stall and we just need to try to keep that track position. It’s pretty sketchy when you lose your track position here, so we’ll try to keep it.”

Logano is fifth in the Cup standings, 18 points above the cut line, entering the race that will narrow the Playoff field from 11 drivers to eight (with Playoff driver Alex Bowman having been sidelined because of injury).

Daniel Suárez (103.103 mph) and Tyler Reddick (103.088 mph), both of whom have won road course races this season, will start third and fourth, respectively, followed by Logano’s Team Penske teammates Austin Cindric and Ryan Blaney.

Double-duty driver AJ Allmendinger earned the seventh starting spot ahead of Christopher Bell, who realistically needs a victory to advance to the Round of 12. Bell was the only Toyota driver to make the final round.

Two-time Charlotte ROVAL winner Chase Elliott will start ninth, followed by Ross Chastain, who slammed the barrier between Turns 5 and 6 on his qualifying lap.

Reddick, who was eliminated from the Playoffs, and Allmendinger, who is running full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, are the only two drivers in the top 10 not competing for the Cup Series championship.

The remaining Playoff drivers qualified as follows: Chase Briscoe 17th, Kyle Larson 18th and Denny Hamlin 24th.