Joey Logano wins the pole for the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway for the third consecutive time with a speed of 97.043 mph. Logano joins the elite group of Glen Wood, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Gordon, and Mark Martin to win three consecutive poles at Martinsville. Logano was able to top the speed chart in all three rounds of qualifying.
“We figured out the qualifying part really well. We really want to be able to win this race. It’s something we’ve been so close too. We have a little extra motivation coming up here this week to be able to show what we are made out of. Its nice to be able to go up here and do what we know how to do, execute qualifying like we know how to at this racetrack. Ever since we unloaded this morning, it was at the top of the board. It’s a fast race car. We knew that, we just have to keep our heads in the game,” said Logano in his media availability after qualifying.
Kasey Kahne showed to be strong in qualifying. He will start second in Sunday’s STP 500. This is his second time starting in the top-10 in 2016.
“It was really good to get quicker each round. Each round we gained speed, and that was the key. Coming up here today, my main goal was to qualify, and try to figure out how to get the best pit stall that we can. That means a lot on Sunday. In and out is a huge part in starting position, especially under the cautions.”
The threat of rain was a major factor in today’s qualifying session. Teams were constantly checking the radar to see when the best time will be to make a qualifying run. Luckily, qualifying was able to get in its entirety.
The First Round of qualifying still had the heat from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice. However, Joey Logano topped the board with a speed of 97.237 mph. In order to get a fast speed, drivers were taking up to five laps in their run. The “King of Martinsville”, as of late, Jimmie Johnson was barely able to advance to the second round. Notable drivers who were unable to advance to the second round were Carl Edwards (25), Austin Dillon (29), and Danica Patrick (28). 39 drivers were able to take laps at Martinsville; however, Reed Sorenson did not make a lap, but will still make the race.
In between rounds, problems arose in the brakes for Chase Elliott. Chase told his team on the in-car radio that the brakes would not work until he was about halfway pressed down on the pedals.
The second round of qualifying was lead by Logano with a speed of 97.679 mph. In the last seconds of this round, Kahne was able to jump from position 13 to P4 to bump Ricky Stenhouse Jr. from advancing to the third round. Notables who were knocked out in this round include Martin Truex Jr. (16), Jimmie Johnson (24), Kevin Harvick (19), and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (21).