Joey Logano has had no trouble qualifying this season, and that trend continued Friday.
Logano won the pole for Saturday’s SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at 192.397 mph.
It’s Logano’s fourth pole this season, tops in the Sprint Cup Series, and his 12th career pole. Logano’s first career pole at Kansas Speedway also made him the youngest pole winner in track history at 24 years and 11 months. He won the fall race at Kansas Speedway, and was able to back that win up in solid fashion.
“Last year we won a lot of first and second sessions, but we’d fall on our face in the third session, so it’s pretty special to be able to figure out these third sessions and still have a lot of speed in those,” Logano said. “We’ll just keep racing hard and staying aggressive. What this team does best is attack.”
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Kasey Kahne will join Logano in the front row after finishing second in qualifying. It’s his eighth top-10 start this season and 10th in 16 races at Kansas Speedway.
“In practice we were sliding around a little more than you want when you are running as much throttle as we are for qualifying runs,” Kahne said. “Either way we had a great (car) right there and kept picking up each run. Our last one was our best one, but it wasn’t enough.”
Jeff Gordon, who won the first night race in track history last year, will start 11th.
The trio of local drivers will be led by Columbia’s Carl Edwards, who starts fifth. That ties for Edwards’ second best start this season. He qualified third at Bristol and fifth at Atlanta.
“We’ve really tried to focus all of our efforts,” Edwards said. “We’ve had bad luck and some problems and it’s time to really get going here. … If we can just have a good, solid race (Saturday) and perform the way we know we can then it’s going to be great.”
Joplin, Mo., native Jamie McMurray will start ninth and Clint Bowyer of Emporia, Kan., will start in 21st place.
Recent history suggests that it’s better to be at the front of the pack at Kansas Speedway: five of the last six winners have come from the top 12 spots.
That’s good news for Kevin Harvick, who along with Jimmie Johnson, have won the last six races on 1.5-mile tracks like Kansas Speedway. Harvick, the pole sitter for the previous three races at Kansas Speedway, qualified sixth.
Johnson, a two-time winner at Kansas Speedway, will start 19th.
“We had some high hopes from being seventh in the final practice and then just there (in qualifying) we just didn’t have the speed,” Johnson said. “We have qualified much worse and finished pretty darn well, so directionally we are going the right way, but we just wish we had the magic wand to fix the short-run speed.”