Hampton, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - Five days after his victory in the Daytona 500, Joey Logano continued his momentum by winning the pole for Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
While Logano went on to claim his ninth career pole in the series, 13 drivers, including former Cup champions Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart, did not get a chance to participate in qualifying due to issues in pre-qualifying inspection.
All 13 drivers had their cars initially fail inspection and then could not have another inspection process completed in time for qualifying.
Sprint Cup qualifying at this 1.54-mile racetrack was scheduled to start at 5:45 p.m. ET, but NASCAR officials delayed the start by 15 minutes in hopes of getting everybody through inspection.
Atlanta was the first qualifying session where the series used its new 2015 rules package for the cars. The Daytona 500, a restrictor-plate race, featured the rules package from last year.
Thirty-four cars were on the track during the first round of knockout qualifying. Other drivers who failed to post a qualifying time in the opening segment were: Regan Smith, driving the No. 41 car in place of the indefinitely suspended Kurt Busch, Jeb Burton, Cole Whitt, Alex Bowman, Landon Cassill, Mike Wallace, Reed Sorenson, Michael Annett and Matt DiBenedetto.
Gordon, who is in his final season of Sprint Cup competition, was furious with not being able to qualify. This is the first race with 3M as primary sponsor of his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
"This is absolutely embarrassing," Gordon said. "I just feel so bad for my guys (No. 24 team) and for 3M. To not even get a chance to go out on the racetrack is ridiculous. I know the fans deserve an apology."
Gordon will start 35th in the race.
"I can't believe how disappointing this is," he added. "There are guys that don't have the points that are going home that never even got a chance to even get out there. It's a big letdown for me and for our series, right now, that this happened. There is no way that this should ever happen."
Wallace, Sorenson, Annett and DiBenedetto failed to qualify.
Kenseth, starting 36th, shared the same sentiment as Gordon.
"Obviously, they weren't organized enough to get everybody through tech it appears," he said. "It's kind of confusing and disappointing for sure."
Logano posted a lap at 194.683 mph during the third and final round of qualifying. The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford will attempt to win his second straight race.
"Hopefully, we'll finish where we started," Logano said. "It's been an amazing few weeks if you think about the Daytona 500 and everything that comes along with that, and then coming down here to Atlanta and starting first is special, especially for me here at this racetrack."
Kevin Harvick, the defending series champion and second-place finisher in the Daytona 500, will share the front row with Logano after turning a lap at 193.792 mph.
"We have a fast car," Harvick said. "The No. 22 (Logano) has probably been the fastest in a single car run, but I feel really good about our car on the long haul, and that's what matters."
Jamie McMurray qualified third, followed by Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman and Sam Hornish Jr.
Finishing ninth through 12th in the last round of qualifying were: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, who won at Atlanta last August, A.J. Allmendinger and Brad Keselowski.