Logano takes All-Star pole; Bell’s crew wins pit crew challenge

During a qualifying session that incorporated a four-tire pit stop under the aegis of the Pit Crew Challenge, Joey Logano won the pole position for both Saturday evening’s No. 1 Heat Race and the Sunday’s $1-million-to win NASCAR All-Star Race (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Logano ran the required three laps, including the pit stop, in 89.754 seconds (75.206 mph), beating fellow Ford driver Brad Keselowski (74.884 mph) for the top starting spot by 0.386 seconds.

Logano is the only driver locked into a starting position for Sunday’s All-Star Race. The rest of the field is scheduled to be set through Saturday’s two heat races.

Logano’s crew was fifth fastest on the pit stop. The winner of the Pit Crew Challenge—and first choice of pit stalls for the All-Star Race—was the over-the-wall gang on Christopher Bell’s Toyota, posting a stop of 13.223 seconds, edging Keselowski’s crew by 0.010 seconds.

The same crew won last year’s Pit Crew Challenge with a different Joe Gibbs Racing driver—Ty Gibbs.

“This qualifying session is the most fun session of the year,” said Logano, the sixth of 17 drivers to attempt a run. “And it really takes the whole team, right? The car’s got to go fast, we’ve got to execute onto pit road well, the spotter’s got to do a good job helping me get through my lights (indicating pit road speed) and being on the same page with me there.

“I’ve got to be able to stop in the stall. The pit crew’s got to do their part, and then back up onto the race track. So it really takes every crew member.”

Bell had the third fastest overall time (90.169 seconds), followed by Daniel Suárez (90.199 seconds).

Notably, Bell’s crew was elated to do its part in the No. 20 Toyota’s successful qualifying effort.

“I’m blessed to be with a good group of guys,” said rear tire changer Mike Hicks. “I couldn’t do this if I didn’t have a good supporting cast. Those guys are the best on pit road, and we’ve got a stud for a driver.”

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

“I was able to stop on my marks. That’s been a huge topic of conversation in our meetings, in making sure you get to the sign deep enough and get the tires locked up, so they can get on the lug while you’re stopping.

“That’s obviously a big part of it—and taking off as soon as that jack drops. And that was a hell of a lot of fun.”