Martinsville, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Joey Logano will start on the pole for the STP 500 after topping Ryan Newman in Friday's qualifying at Martinsville Speedway.
Logano, who won the Daytona 500 last month, made a lap around this 0.526-mile, paperclip-shaped oval at 98.461 mph during the final round of qualifying for his second pole of the season and the 10th of his Sprint Cup Series career. His first pole this season occurred at Atlanta four weeks ago. Logano's best finish in his previous 12 starts at Martinsville is second, which happened in March 2010. He scored top-five finishes in both races here last year.
When the series competed at Martinsville in March 2014, Logano set a new track qualifying record with a lap at 100.201 mph during the second round, but he ended up finishing third in the last round, while Kyle Busch won the pole.
"It's cool to get a pole here at Martinsville because I've come so close to getting a pole at Martinsville but had never been able to do it," Logano said. "We have the track record but no poles. It's awesome to get it."
Newman will share the front row with Logano for Sunday's 500-lap race. His lap was just 0.026 seconds behind Logano.
"I wish we could have been just a tick quicker and gotten that pole, but nevertheless, this is the best starting spot we've had, and it's obviously a good starting spot," Newman said.
Martin Truex Jr. qualified third, while Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top-five. Gordon and Johnson have eight race wins each at Martinsville.
Chase Elliott, who will take over for Gordon in the No. 24 car next year, will start 27th in his first career Sprint Cup start. Elliott, the defending Xfinity Series champion and 19-year-old son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, is scheduled to drive the No. 25 Chevrolet for Hendrick in five Cup races this season, beginning with Martinsville.
"It's definitely a big relief for us," Elliott said after he qualified for his first Sprint Cup race. "It's weird being excited about qualifying, wherever we qualified, 27th, but we're in the show, our first Sprint Cup Series race. We're excited for Sunday."
Finishing sixth through 12th in qualifying were: Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, A.J. Allmendinger, Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski, who is Logano's teammate at Team Penske.
Kevin Harvick, the defending Sprint Cup champion, failed to make it out of the second round and qualified 17th. Harvick has finished either first or second in the last nine races, a streak dating back to last season.
"Qualifying has never really been my strong suit at Martinsville," Harvick said. We're okay in race trim, and our (car) will be ready to go on Sunday."
Denny Hamlin, a four-time Martinsville race winner, will start 15th, one spot behind Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won here for the first time last October. Kurt Busch, the winner of last year's spring race at Martinsville, will roll off 26th.
Brendan Gaughan and Ron Hornaday Jr. failed to qualify.