Brad Keselowski will lead the field to the green flag on Sunday at the Tricky Triangle.
The driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford scored the pole for Sunday’s Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400 at Pocono Raceway with a time of 49.525 and a speed of 181.726 mph.
“Yeah, it was a really solid effort for Team Penske to get 1-2,” Keselowski said of his qualifying performance. “That is really hard to do, I can tell you that. We had great speed obviously today. I wasn’t really sure what to expect with the rain and all the other variables that were kind of thrown at us with low practice. We thought we would be okay and quite honestly we tested here and we weren’t very good and we were just kind of not really sure what to expect. We got that half a lap of practice in and we weren’t all that good there either but for some reason here in the qualifying session the team put things together and worked on it and found some speed and dialed on it each round and we got faster each round. That is why we are up here today. It was a team effort. I am really proud of the group with the Miller Lite Ford running up front and getting the pole is great but we want to be up there on Sunday as well. We will enjoy this moment and then get back to work and try to make it stay up there Sunday.”
It’s the 12th career pole and first of the season for the 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion.
He’ll be joined on the front row by teammate Joey Logano who posted a time of 49.614 and a speed of 181.400 mph in his No. 22 Ford.
“It is interesting, I think the tires are actually getting better every run,” Logano said. “The will and the want to go faster I think rose as well. Congratulations to the 2 car. It kind of stings for us. The last two weeks we have won the first two rounds and come in second in the third round. It is a bummer for us but both Team Penske cars are fast and that is pretty cool when we start the race on Sunday. We have a good starting spot and it is a long race so we will be just fine.
“Yeah, we were so close,” a disappointed Logano added. “The last two weeks we have been the fastest car in the first two rounds and given it up in the third. You want to get those poles. The pole means a lot and it is cool to rack up that stat but overall both Team Penske Fusions are up front and that says a lot about where our organization is right now. Man, I just wanted to get the pole. It stings but it’s cool we are up front.”
Matt Kenseth will start third in his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota after posting a time of 49.637 and a speed of 181.316 mph.
“It was good for us,” Kenseth said of his qualifying performance. “It was an interesting qualifying session because a lot of people didn’t get any practice, including us, so it’s kind of a little bit of a tricky place to get up to speed and get your momentum and get it to feel good. With all that being said, it went really well for us. We were able to have some pretty good speed the first round and adjust on it every time. Just got off a little bit the last run, but it was still obviously a good time. Think it was the best I’ve ever done here.”
Kevin Harvick will start fourth in his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet after posting a time of 49.671 and a speed of 181.192 mph.
“It was good,” Harvick said of his qualifying performance. “The car was definitely better than the driver. But I think as you look at how fast the car is, I just made a lot of mistakes in really all three rounds. I was just trying to get too much out of it instead of just letting the car do the work as fast as it is. But all in all, those were still pretty good laps. We made one lap of practice this morning, that’s all. We’ve got some work to do tomorrow, but most of all, on the driver’s rhythm!”
Carl Edwards will round out the top-five in his No. 19 JGR Toyota after posting a time of 49.790 and a speed of 180.759 mph.
“I thought not shaving was going to do the trick, but it didn’t – wasn’t that good of luck, so I’m going to shave,” Edwards said. “Our Toyota was fast. We’ve got ARRIS SURFboard modems on there – they’ve got the fastest modems and I thought we were going to have the fastest car, but I think I gave up a little bit in the tunnel. It’s so easy to do that here, but I had fun though. Pretty fast – I didn’t know that we’d all be that fast.”
Tony Stewart will start sixth in his No. 14 SHR Chevrolet. Jimmie Johnson will start seventh in his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start eighth in his No. 88 HMS Chevrolet. Kurt Busch will start ninth in his No. 41 SHR Chevrolet. Denny Hamlin will round out the top-10 in his No. 11 JGR Toyota.
Kasey Kahne will start 11th in his No. 5 HMS Chevrolet. Kyle Busch will round out the 12 drivers that made the final round of qualifying in his No. 18 JGR Toyota.
Chase Elliott will be the highest starting rookie in 13th. Defending race winner Martin Truex Jr. will start 17th.
Forty cars were entered, so none were sent home after qualifying.
Twenty-two Chevrolet cars, 11 Ford cars and seven Toyota cars comprise the starting field for Sunday’s race.C1614_STARTROW