LAS VEGAS, Nev. (March 7, 2014) – Joey Logano and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford team earned the pole for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as Team Penske swept the front-row in Coors Light qualifying for the second-consecutive weekend.
“To have a Penske front row the last two weekends at two completely different race tracks just goes to show how hard these guys have been working,” said Logano. “When you work hard those results come. We obviously haven’t won on Sunday yet, so we’ve got to figure out the big show, but we’ve had some good speed in our cars. We got blocked on the race track a little bit and didn’t get our first run in very well. We went back out and were only 18th after the first segment and then you kind of get to reset – take a deep breath, adjust your race car, cool it off the best you can - and we were able to go out there and run again and win the last two segments. This Shell-Pennzoil team is a bunch of hard-working guys. It’s so much fun to work with them. We’re here to win this year and we’re trying to prove it.”
The three-segment elimination qualifying session began in a less than ideal manner for Logano as his first lap was impeded by a competitor, which landed Logano initially out of the top-24. He rebounded to post the 18th fastest lap of the first session.
The second-year Team Penske driver would make a marked improvement during the second session as he topped the speed charts to move to the final session. In that final five-minute dash, Logano again bested the field of 12 drivers as he earned his first Coors Light Pole of the season and the eighth of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career.
Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford will start from second as Team Penske swept the front row for the second-consecutive week.
“This is another great result for the team and I am happy for Joey,” said Keselowski. “I left a little bit out there during that final session, so I didn’t think we would have enough for the pole. Team Penske has been giving us fast cars, which makes my job a lot easier. We clearly have the speed we need in qualifying now we just have to do a little work to get our Ford Fusion where we need to be in the race.”
The Kobalt Tools 400 will air live on FOX this Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET. The event will also be broadcast on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR channel 90.
The Michael Waltrip Racing driver is coming off a good weekend at Phoenix that ended in a 13th-place finish. The result moved Bowyer up 16 spots in the point standings. He is currently 23rd after a mechanical failure in the season’s opener put him in an unusual position in the point standings.
Bowyer and team hope to continue that momentum at Las Vegas, the first 1.5-mile track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit the season . Bowyer has three top-10 finishes in eight starts at the oval. A trip to victory lane would certainly provide a reason for the driver and his 5-hour ENERGY crew to echo Presley and say, “Viva Las Vegas!”
What do you think about qualifying under the new format at a 1.5-mile track for the first time?
“Well, we just missed advancing to the next round last weekend. But I think we figured out a few things and will be better about it this weekend. I think the fans liked it and it was exciting to watch.”
How important is Las Vegas?
“It’s pretty important. It’s the first 1.5-mile track we go to and it usually shows who has their stuff ready to go. We were good off the truck last year and I’m hoping for the same this year.”