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Team Penske Sweeps the Front Row in Pocono

Friday, Jun 03 2675
Team Penske brought the horsepower to Pocono, sweeping all three round of Sprint Cup Series qualifying and will start alongside each other on the front row. 

After Joey Logano was quickest in the first two rounds of qualifying, his teammate Brad Keselowski took the final round en route to his first pole of 2016 and first pole at Pocono Raceway. His previous best qualifying results at the "Tricky Triangle" were a pair of third-place efforts in 2014. 

It was a speed of 181.726 mph that claimed the top spot. Logano ran a speed of 181.400 mph, nearly a tenth of a second off the pole-winning time. 

"It was a really solid effort for Team Penske," Keselowski said. "To get 1-2 is hard to do, but we had great speed today. I wasn't really sure what to expect with the rain and all of the other variables that were thrown at us with no practice."

The last seven times that Keselowski has started on pole, he has finished in the top 10 each time with two victories. 

After Logano, it was August winner Matt Kenseth who placed third at 181.316 mph. Kevin Harvick had the fourth best time at 181.192 mph and Carl Edwards rounded out the top five at 180.759 mph.

"I didn't do a very good job today," Harvick said of his fourth-place effort. "The car was a lot faster than the driver today. The guys did a job preparing a good job, but I wasn't in a good rhythm and didn't do a good job in any of the rounds to get everything out of the car that I needed to." 

Tony Stewart will start sixth in his best qualifying effort since Michigan last August when he began that 400-mile race fifth. 

Jimmie Johnson will start seventh, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. eighth, Kurt Busch ninth and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top 10. 

Chase Elliott is the highest starting rookie in 13th with Rookie of the Year contender Ryan Blaney alongside in 14th. 

The defending race winner, Martin Truex, Jr. posted the 17th quickest time in qualifying. The No. 78 team feels that they missed the setup completely and thought the track was going to be something different. It took them two tries to get through the first round, which put more laps on their tires, hurting the speed in Round Two. 

"We just totally missed it off the trailer, which is unusual for our team," Truex said. "We were way off our first run in practice and had so many different ideas about what it might have been. It felt so bad that it felt like the tires were wrong or we had a bad set."

Final practice is set to begin at 11:30 on Saturday weather depending. It will be the only time that the teams will be able to practice on race trim because no driver completed more than seven laps in the opening practice on Friday.
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Dustin Albino

Dustin is a 20-year-old, currently studying journalism at Ithaca College. Albino has always wanted to report on NASCAR and beginning at the end of 2014 that is exactly what he did with Speedway Digest. Since that time he has become well-known around the garage area and is looking to attend even more races than he did in 2015. 

Twitter: @DustinAlbino
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