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Logano wins pole for first Chase race at Chicagoland
Joliet, IL (Sports Network) - Hours after NASCAR penalized Penske Racing for its actions in last weekend's race at Richmond, teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski put the racing organization on the front starting row for Sunday's Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Logano, who is competing in his first Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, set a new track qualifying record at Chicagoland on Friday with a lap at 189.414 mph. He claimed his second pole of the season and the seventh of his Sprint Cup Series career. The Penske driver enters the Chase in the sixth seed.
Four weeks ago, Logano started on the pole and won at Michigan.
"When you pull into the Chase here, you know everyone is picking it up a notch," Logano said. "We'll have to see what happens on Sunday. So far, this Ford has been really fast. These have been the type of racetracks that we've been able to capitalize on, the mile-and-a-half and two-mile racetracks."
Earlier in the day, NASCAR placed Penske and Front Row Motorsports on probation for the remainder of the year for "actions detrimental to stock car racing." The sanctioning body reviewed the radio communications between Logano's No. 22 team and David Gilliland's No. 38 Front Row team to determine if a deal was made to have Gilliland let Logano pass him after the final restart with three laps to go at Richmond. Logano finished 22nd, and Gilliland was 23rd. Logano secured the final top-10 points spot in the Chase, beating Jeff Gordon by only one point.
"I was driving the car (at Richmond) and didn't know anything was going on until we landed here in Chicago a couple days ago and my phone was blowing up," Logano said. "I didn't expect anything because I didn't see it. I still wouldn't expect it even after listening to everything. I think the right things happened."
NASCAR has now put Gordon in the Chase as the 13th member due to the controversial finish in last Saturday's race at Richmond.
Keselowski, who failed to qualify for the Chase, secured the outside pole with a lap 189.248 mph. Keselowski won at Chicagoland and then captured the Sprint Cup championship in 2012.
"This is the week of teammates, huh?" Keselowski said. "It just keeps playing right along. It was a decent lap for sure and the Penske cars, we have put a lot of effort into this weekend and getting the Chase started off on the right foot. I wish we were a part of it but it shows the speed we will have. I look forward to the next 10 weeks and putting some wins on the board."
Juan Pablo Montoya qualified third, followed by Kasey Kahne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Gordon. Kahne has a spot in the playoffs.
"We're proud to be in (the Chase), and now an incredible set of opportunities lie on our shoulders to go out there and show that we belong in this Chase," Gordon said.
Chase drivers Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth, who is the top-seed, completed the top-10.
The 14 fastest qualifiers surpassed the previous track record of 188.147 mph, set by Johnson in 2005. It's the 15th time this season a track qualifying record has been broken with the new Sprint Cup race car, the Gen-6.
The remaining Chase contenders and their starting positions include: Kyle Busch (12th), Kurt Busch (16th), Kevin Harvick (17th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (18th), Ryan Newman (20th) and Clint Bowyer (24th).
All 43 drivers who attempting qualifying made the starting field for Sunday's 400-mile race, which is scheduled to start just after 2 p.m. ET.
09/13 20:49:04 ET