Joey Logano leads Ford armada in Michigan Cup qualifying
BROOKLYN, Mich. – The Ford drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series apparently took the words of Edsel Ford II to heart.
At a dinner with Ford drivers on Thursday night, the member of the Ford Motor Company board of directors emphasized the importance of putting a Mustang in Victory Lane after Sunday’s Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway (2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
On Saturday morning at the 2-mile track, Joey Logano took the first step toward fulfilling the mission outlined by the Henry Ford’s great-grandson. Taking a racing line that differed from that of his competitors, Logano covered the distance in 38.474 seconds (187.139 mph) to win the pole position for Sunday’s race.
In winning his second Busch Pole Award of the season, his fourth at Michigan and the 22nd of his career, Logano led five Fords into the top six in time trials, edging Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola (187.047 mph) for the top starting spot by .019 seconds.
Logano demolished the rest of the field through Turn 3 and 4, entering the corner on the high side, arcing to the bottom in the center of the corner and getting off the bottom sooner than almost every other driver.
How did Logano develop the line he ran?
“I just got lucky—it was all luck,” Logano quipped. “Of course, we all work at things. We all try to figure things out and try to take an advantage when you have it. It’s always short-lived, but today we were able to take advantage of a lot of things and be able to have a fast car.
“Our (No. 22) Shell/Pennzoil Ford definitely has speed in it, for sure, especially for one lap. Hopefully, that maintains throughout the race to where we can stay up there. That (No. 1) pit stall is going to help a lot. The first pit stall here is quite the advantage. It’s nice to have that, and hopefully, it keeps us up front and keeps us out of the big chaotic mess that I think is going to be toward the middle of the pack.”
But did the lap go according to plan.
“It was all luck,” Logano joked again. “Of course, it’s planned—I drive the car. I’m still the driver. At least it went where I told it to go.
That part really helped a lot.”
Almirola was the only other driver to crack the 38.50-second mark. His teammate, Kevin Harvick was third in 38.522 seconds (186.906 mph). Denny Hamlin qualified fourth in the fastest Toyota, followed by the Fords of Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard. Kurt Busch was seventh in the quickest Chevrolet.
“I’ve heard everybody else talk about Edsel’s message to us Thursday night at dinner,” Almirola said. “That was really cool to get to go and experience that…
“That’s the (fifth) front-row for our team this year, the 10 team, and only one pole. That’s frustrating to get that close to getting a pole that often and only have one pole. We seem to always get beat just by a little bit by somebody different every time.
“I feel like our car is really fast. We have a really fast Smithfield Ford Mustang. All the Fords are really fast. I think eight of the (top) 10 are Ford. This is definitely Ford country, and we’re excited to go try and get a Ford to Victory Lane.”