For the fifth time in the last four years, Joey Logano will start on the pole for a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the Martinsville Speedway. Logano, earned the pole for both races in 2015, the spring race in 2016, the fall race of 2017 and now the spring race in 2019 in circling the .526-mile Virginia short track with a speed of 97.830 mph in the third and final round of knockout qualifying on Saturday evening.
It was Logano’s 21st career Busch Pole Award tying him with Dick Hutcherson for 39th all-time. This will also be the Team Penske drivers’ 13th consecutive top 10 starting spot in Martinsville with 10 of those coming in the first 2 Rows.
The Connecticut native has to be among the favorites for Sunday’s STP 500 (2 p.m. ET/FS1/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) with him boasting four top 10 finishes in his last five Martinsville starts to go along with four top 10 finishes in five tries on the 2019 season overall.
Joining Logano’s No. 22 Ford on the front row is fellow blue oval driver Aric Almirola. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver hasn’t scored a top 10 finish on the paperclip since 2014 but was fast enough on Saturday to lock in a front row starting spot. Almirola, qualified with a speed of 97.643 mph in his No. 10 Ford to join Logano on the top row for Sunday’s 500 Lap race.
Almirola, was second and fifth respectively on the 10 lap average charts in practice on Saturday morning.
Two more Fords Share Row 2 and both are SHR-Penske’s as well. Brad Keselowski (97.458 mph) will start third in his No. 2 Ford while Kevin Harvick (97.382 mph) rolls off fourth in his No. 4 Ford.
Denny Hamlin (97.362 mph) rounded out the top five in his No. 11 Toyota. His teammate Kyle Busch surprisingly didn’t make it out of the second round of qualifying and will start 14th in his No. 18 Toyota. Busch, has won the last two races on the season and won the Truck Series race earlier on Saturday.
Ryan Blaney also didn’t advance as his No. 12 Ford was very loose on his attempts. He will start 19th.
Eight of the top 11 starting spots belong to either Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske or Stewart-Haas Racing. Those three organizations have won the last eight combined Cup Series races including Penske and JGR winning all five this season alone.
STP 500 Starting Lineup
Row 1: Joey Logano, Aric Almirola
Row 2: Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick
Row 3: Denny Hamlin, William Byron
Row 4: Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott
Row 5: Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez
Row 6: Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson
Row 7: Chris Buescher, Kyle Busch
Row 8: Paul Menard, Ryan Preece R
Row 9: Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney
Row 10: Erik Jones, Kurt Busch
Row 11: Matt Kenseth, Matt DiBenedetto
Row 12: Ty Dillon, Michael McDowell
Row 13: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., David Ragan
Row 14: Darrell Wallace Jr., Landon Cassill
Row 15: Daniel Hemric R, Austin Dillon
Row 16: Ross Chastain, Matt Tifft
Row 17: Jeb Burton, DJ Kennington
Row 18: Corey LaJoie, Cody WareLogano