Richmond, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Joey Logano will start on the pole for Saturday night's Toyota Owners 400 after topping Denny Hamlin in qualifying at Richmond International Raceway.
Logano, who won the spring race at Richmond one year ago, made a lap around this 0.75-mile oval at 127.071 mph during Friday's final round in qualifying to claim his Sprint Cup Series-leading third pole of the season. It was also his 11th career pole in the series.
Last Sunday at Bristol, Logano finished 40th -- the first time he had placed outside the top-10 this season -- after he was involved in an early-race accident with his Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski. Logano, the driver of the No. 22 Ford for Penske, won the Feb. 22 Daytona 500 and then captured the pole at Atlanta one week later. He also started first in last month's race at Martinsville.
"The guys did a great job getting us faster today," Logano said. "It's fun because you go out and run all these laps, and that lap didn't even actually feel that good because you have seven or eight laps on your tires and the car is sliding around a lot. So it's funny that the pole-sitting car is sliding all over the place, but everyone is on old tires out there."
Hamlin, who hails from nearby Chesterfield, Virginia, will share the front starting row with Logano after he turned a lap at 126.796 mph. Hamlin missed most of the Bristol race when he suffered a neck spasm. Erik Jones relieved him in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Toyota, finishing 26th.
Earlier in the day, Hamlin won the pole and Logano qualified second for Friday night's 250-lap Xfinity Series race at Richmond.
Kurt Busch qualified third, while A.J. Allmendinger took the fourth spot. Kevin Harvick, the defending Sprint Cup champion and current points leader, was fifth.
Finishing sixth through 12th in the last round of qualifying were: Martin Truex Jr., Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, who ended his 51-race winless drought at Bristol, Jamie McMurray, David Ragan, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Larson.
While Gordon made into the third round, his Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne, failed to advance out of the first round.
Earnhardt qualified a season-worst 26th, and Johnson placed 36th for his second-lowest starting position of the year. He won the March 1 race at Atlanta after starting 37th there.
"I'm really puzzled," Johnson said after the opening round of qualifying at Richmond. "We had such a great practice session, in race and qualifying trim, so I'm just scratching my head big-time right now. We'll try to figure out what happened and then prepare for the race."
Kahne, who had posted the fastest lap overall in the two Sprint Cup practices held earlier in the day, qualified 40th with a lap at 125.909 mph.
"It was definitely something with the tires because we didn't change anything," Kahne said. "I've been bouncing on the splitter in practice, and right there, I never even felt it. So there are obviously some differences in the tires or something."
Chase Elliott, driving the No. 25 Chevrolet for Hendrick, qualified 16th in what will be his second career Sprint Cup start. Elliott, the defending Xfinity champion, started 27th and finished 38th in his series debut at Martinsville.
Jeb Burton and Brendan Gaughan failed to qualify.