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Joey Logano Tops Qualifying Charts on Newly-Repaved Sonoma Raceway

Photo Credit: Aaron Giffin, TobyChristie.com

Joey Logano, a two-time champion of the NASCAR Cup Series, has a knack for thriving in brand-new situations, whether it be a new vehicle, a new racetrack, a new configuration, or even a new racing surface, as he continued to display Saturday at Sonoma Raceway.

The Team Penske driver laid down the best lap in the final round of qualifying on Saturday, posting a time of 73.243 seconds (97.771mph) to earn his 31st career pole in the NASCAR Cup Series, and his third of the year.

RELATED: NASCAR Cup Series Toyota / Save Mart 350 Starting Lineup

While it was an incredible lap, Logano couldn’t help but nit-pick the spots where he made mistakes during his lap.

“You always look at what went wrong first, or at least that’s my mentality. Unfortunately, I look at the bad parts,” Logano explained. “Most of it was pretty good. I got a little loose up in turn two and probably left a little bit out there, but it’s hard to hit a perfect lap every corner. If you can average it all out to be pretty good, it works out. It was great to see the Autotrader Mustang having some speed here in Sonoma. It didn’t seem too bad in race trim, either, so hopefully we can turn this into a victory tomorrow.”

It continues a hot streak for the organization, which has had Joey Logano (All-Star Race) and Austin Cindric (WWT Raceway) collect wins in the NASCAR Cup Series in the last two months. And we’re not just seeing the gains on track, Logano is feeling them from behind the wheel.

“I do feel like we’re making gains, for sure,” Logano said. “This short track package, which is the road course package as well, seems to suit us a little bit better for whatever reasons those are. You can guess as good as me, but it seems like any time we can get off the gas pedal our Penske cars are running a little bit better.”

Logano knows his team still has room for improvement on the intermediate ovals, but is excited for Sunday’s race and the upcoming events, which will utilize the short track package.

“We definitely have work to do on the mile-and-a-halves,” Logano admitted. “I don’t think we’ve made many gains there yet, but we’ve got to capitalize on the next few weeks when you look at tomorrow, for sure, but also Iowa, New Hampshire – some good racetracks coming up.”

Tyler Reddick was second-fastest in qualifying on Saturday, less than a tenth of a second behind the polesitter. Reddick is a three-time Cup Series road course winner but only has a best finish of 19th at Sonoma.

The defending NASCAR Cup Series champion and leader in Friday’s 50-minute practice session, Ryan Blaney, was third fastest, with Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, and William Byron starting in fourth, fifth, and sixth.

Larson, driving the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, was lucky to even have a racecar in one piece to make an improved second run, after clipping the tire barriers at the exit of Turn 4.

Daniel Suarez clocked in seventh, while Alex Bowman, Ross Chastain, and Ty Gibbs completed the top-10.

Multi-time Supercars winner Will Brown and Cam Waters, each making their NASCAR Cup Series debuts this weekend at Sonoma Raceway, struggled in time trials on Saturday, with neither driver advancing to the final round.

After being top-five in practice, Brown was the best of the two debutants in 24th, while Waters continued the struggles of RFK Racing this weekend sitting in 31st.

Other notable drivers that failed to move into the final round of qualifying include AJ Allmendinger (11th), Michael McDowell (12th), Christopher Bell (15th), Bubba Wallace (18th), Martin Truex, Jr. (21st), Denny Hamlin (25th), Austin Cindric (28th), Kyle Busch (29th), and Brad Keselowski (35th).

LEGACY MOTOR CLUB teammates John Hunter Nemechek and Erik Jones will round out the 38-driver field in Sunday’s 100-lap contest from Sonoma, California. Coverage of the event, the final round to be broadcasted on the FOX Sports family of networks this season, will begin at 3:30 pm ET on FOX.


Starting Lineup: NASCAR Cup Series Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma

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