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NASCAR Daytona 500: Logano earns pole, Fords lock out front row

Team Penske’s Logano was the last of the 10-car final round to qualify and bolted to the top of the speed chart with an average lap speed of 181.947mph to secure pole for Sunday’s race.

Logano’s pole is the first for a Ford driver in the pole since Carl Edwards in 2012 and first in the race for team owner Roger Penske. It was also the first 500 pole for Logano, who won the race in 2015.

“This is all about the team. Obviously, I’d like to take credit but I can’t today,” Logano said.

“The guys have done such an amazing job working on these cars. The superspeedway qualifying is 100% the car, there’s only so much the driver can do.

“It’s a big win for our team, Team Penske, and Ford with the Dark Horse Mustang, being able to come down here and put it on the pin.

“Finally, someone else wins the pole. I’ve never even been close to a superspeedway pole before.

“It couldn’t come at a cooler event.”

Joining Logano on the front row is fellow Ford driver McDowell, the 2021 Daytona 500 winner posting an average lap speed of 181.686mph in his Front Row Motorsports entry.

Pole winner Joey Logano, Team Penske, Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang, Michael McDowell, Front Row Motorsports, Love's Travel Stops Ford Mustang, Daytona 500 Front Row starters (Photo by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images)

Kyle Larson ended up third fastest and the highest performing Hendrick Chevrolet driver. A team powered by a Hendrick engine has started on the pole for the 500 for nine consecutive years.

Austin Cindric was fourth and Chase Elliott rounded out the top five.

Completing the top 10 were William Byron, Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch, Ross Chastain and Harrison Burton.

No Toyota driver advanced to the final round of qualifying.

Only Logano and McDowell’s starting positions are locked in for Sunday. The remaining line-up will be set by the results of Thursday night’s twin 150-mile qualifying races.

By posting the top two speeds among the six unchartered cars, Anthony Alfredo and David Ragan both locked themselves into the field for Sunday’s 500.

Alfredo is driving for Beard Motorsports which typically runs a partial schedule each season and Ragan is driving a third entry for RFK Racing, which plans to enter several races this year.

Kaz Grala, driving the #36 Ford for Front Row Motorsports, experienced an issue with his car and failed to post a speed.

David Ragan, RFK Racing, Ford Mustang (Photo by: Rusty Jarrett / NKP / Motorsport Images)

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, driving a third entry for Legacy Motor Club, ended up 35th and will have to race his way into the 500 in Thursday night’s qualifying races.

“I had higher expectations for sure, but we are lumped right there with the other Toyotas,” Johnson said.

“The #43 [Erik Jones] car got a little more out of it, so I wish we had a bit more out of ours, but it is what it is.

“We will go out and race hard tomorrow night and try to make the 500.”

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