Ryan Blaney Scores Phoenix Pole for Penske

Ryan Blaney topped NASCAR’s charts in qualifying on Saturday. The Penske driver will take the green flag of the Ruoff Mortgage 500 alongside Denny Hamlin. It’s his seventh career pole and third at Phoenix alone. 

“I thought it was a pretty decent lap,” Blaney said. You just hope you make the right changes to try to get a little bit better and everyone else is trying to do the same thing. I appreciate everyone’s help. It is a nice place to start for tomorrow.”

Hamlin spoke about his team’s desire for a strong run after a streak of bad luck in the three opening races. He said that “a good solid day would help us believe and give us confidence that we are going to be good at all of the racetracks.” Still, he said, “I’m confident. I really am actually happy where our team is and where it is progressing week to week.”

William Byron, Aric Almirola, and Christopher Bell rounded out the top five, while Chase Briscoe, Kyle Larson, Austin Cindric, Alex Bowman, and Joey Logano rounded out the top ten. 

Cindric noted that “the Fords seem to be fast so we will keep digging tomorrow.” Fords made up half of the top ten cars.

Fellow Ford driver Briscoe was critical of his performance, but he acknowledged, “I should have a decent starting spot. And I have a really good race car for tomorrow so that is all that matters.”

AVONDALE, ARIZONA – MARCH 12: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, waits on the grid during practice for for the Ruoff Mortgage 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 12, 2022 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Logano didn’t have quite as smooth a qualifying as his teammate Blaney. Coming out of turn four, Logano said he “just fed it a little more throttle to get a little more speed off the corner and it just snapped.”

However, damage was minimal: “We caught the fence a little bit but I think it is good. I don’t think we will have to do much to fix it, we should be good to go.” The team said they do not intend to repair the visual damage unless NASCAR allows it without sending them to the rear. 

Nine drivers will also be losing their pit selection and a crew member after failing inspection twice. Tyler Reddick, Garrett Smithley, Kyle Busch, Christopher Bell, Cole Custer, Ty Dillon, and Landon Cassill all lost their car chief. Todd Gilliland and Erik Jones both lost their engineer. FOX Sport’s Bob Pockrass pointed out that the car chief is typically ejected for body violations and the engineer for anything else. 

After qualifying was over, the Hendrick Motorsports crew for Kyle Larson reported that they found a steering issue on the No. 5 Chevy and had to make repairs; that will force Larson  to give up his seventh place starting spot and start at the rear of the field Sunday.


Photos: NASCAR at Phoenix Raceway Saturday March 12, 2022

NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying – Ruoff Mortgage 500

Phoenix Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Saturday, March 12, 2022

  1. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 132.709 mph.
  2. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 132.353 mph.
  3. (24) William Byron, Chevrolet, 132.275 mph.
  4. (20) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 132.270 mph.
  5. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 131.984 mph.
  6. (14) Chase Briscoe, Ford, 131.945 mph.
  7. (5) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 131.941 mph.
  8. (2) Austin Cindric #, Ford, 131.873 mph.
  9. (48) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 131.772 mph.
  10. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 129.922 mph.
  11. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 0.000 mph.
  12. (8) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.
  13. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.
  14. (43) Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.
  15. (45) Kurt Busch, Toyota, 0.000 mph.
  16. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 0.000 mph.
  17. (1) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.
  18. (6) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 0.000 mph.
  19. (9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.
  20. (19) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 0.000 mph.
  21. (42) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.
  22. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford, 0.000 mph.
  23. (99) Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.
  24. (21) Harrison Burton #, Ford, 0.000 mph.
  25. (41) Cole Custer, Ford, 0.000 mph.
  26. (17) Chris Buescher, Ford, 0.000 mph.
  27. (23) Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 0.000 mph.
  28. (31) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.
  29. (16) AJ Allmendinger(i), Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.
  30. (7) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.
  31. (77) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.
  32. (51) Cody Ware, Ford, 0.000 mph.
  33. (38) Todd Gilliland #, Ford, 0.000 mph.
  34. (78) BJ McLeod, Ford, 0.000 mph.
  35. (15) Garrett Smithley, Ford, 0.000 mph.
  36. (47) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 0.000 mph
Owen Johnson