Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano grab front row for NASCAR Cup race at Phoenix: Keselowski survives NASCAR’s first knockout-style qualifying format for fourth occupation pole

Keselowski survives NASCAR’;s first knockout-design qualifying format for 4th career pole

By: Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service on February 28, 2014

Brad Keselowski will be on the pole for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix.

LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC – Brad Keselowski will be on the pole for Sunday’;s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix.

At times it was dramatic. At times it was chaotic.But, with drivers attempting to cool their engines and tires — not to mention fighting for adequate area to complete clean laps — Brad Keselowski won the pole for Sunday’;s The Profit on CNBC 500 at Phoenix International Raceway in debut of NASCAR’;s new group knockout qualifying format in the Sprint Cup Series.

Keselowski won his 1st Coors Light Pole of the season and the 4th of his career with a track-record lap on Friday at the one-mile speedway. In the 10-minute round that established the pole, Keselowski finished a lap at 139.384 mph, breaking the record of 139.222 mph set by Jimmie Johnson before final year’;s Chase race in November.

Fellow Staff Penske driver Joey Logano (139.265 mph) will start on the outside of the front row beside his teammate. Logano was fastest in the opening session that narrowed the quantity of drivers eligible for the pole from 46 to twelve.

Jamie McMurray (138.969 mph) experienced third, followed by Johnson (138.350 mph) and Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. (138.344 mph). Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, rookie Kyle Larson, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne and Denny Hamlin finished the prime 12.

“It’;s a good deal more nerve-wracking,” Keselowski explained of the new format. “Usually there is a rather very good rule of thumb: if it is a great deal far more nerve-wracking for drivers, it is a good deal far more exciting for followers and partners and all these issues. That is a good thing.

“I’;m more curious (about) the feedback we get from our fans and everybody else, whether or not they liked it, since, at the end of the day, it’;s not about whether or not I like it. It truly is about whether they like it. I like it, because it fits my design, but which is neither right here nor there. It really is about what our fans care for, and I’;d be interested to see the suggestions more than time.”

There was drama at the finish of the very first 30-minute session, as several drivers waited until the closing minutes to demonstrate their hands. With just above 6 minutes left, Kevin Harvick popped into the top 12, only to be knocked back to 13th when the 2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin cracked the prime twelve in the late going.

Joey Logano will start alongside teammate Brad Keselowski on the front row at Phoenix.

LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC – Joey Logano will commence alongside teammate Brad Keselowski on the front row at Phoenix.

In an early run underneath cloud cover, Logano ran the quickest lap of the session at 139.190 mph. Keselowski was 2nd, followed by the Busch brothers, Kyle and Kurt.

With the emphasis on cooling the engines at a premium, teams had their drivers circulate about the inside of the track at thirty mph, a method that brought on some consternation, even though the drivers in that mode were productive in steering clear of automobiles creating scorching laps at the very same time.

“When you’;re going out there and you happen to be going 100 miles per hour slower, the closing rate is truly rapidly, so it is kind of scary,” Logano stated.

McMurray felt NASCAR should contemplate permitting teams to great their engines with generators on pit road, rather than operating slowly on the track and risking interference with vehicles producing qualifying runs.

Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition, stated allowing cooling units on pit road may result in the strategic component of the new format to endure. Pemberton, however, did emphasize the sanctioning body’;s continuing dialogue with the race teams.

“It’;s essential for us to work collectively with the teams to come up with the appropriate solutions,” Pemberton mentioned.

Notes: Landon Cassill, Josh Smart and Dave Blaney failed to qualify for the 43-vehicle discipline. … The top 3 qualifiers all drive for teams with IndyCar affiliations. The IndyCar Series uses the knockout format in road course qualifying, and as Keselowski mentioned, staff proprietor Roger Penske “was all above that.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying – The Revenue on CNBC 500, Presented by Small Business Fueling America

Phoenix International Raceway

Avondale, Arizona

Friday

1. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 139.384 mph.

2. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 139.265 mph.

3. (one) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 138.969 mph.

4. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 138.350 mph.

5. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 138.344 mph.

6. (sixteen) Greg Biffle, Ford, 138.339 mph.

6. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 138.318 mph.

8. (42) Kyle Larson #, Chevrolet, 138.318 mph.

9. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 138.281 mph.

8. (41) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 138.047 mph.

eleven. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 137.889 mph.

12. (eleven) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 137.315 mph.

13. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 137.815 mph.

14. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 137.810 mph.

15. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 137.794 mph.

sixteen. (fifty 5) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 137.788 mph.

17. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 137.741 mph.

18. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 137.588 mph.

19. (twenty) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 137.546 mph.

twenty. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 137.483 mph.

21. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 137.473 mph.

22. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 137.347 mph.

23. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 137.216 mph.

24. (3) Austin Dillon #, Chevrolet, 137.200 mph.

25. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 137.179 mph.

26. (95) Michael McDowell, Ford, 137.065 mph.

27. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 136.903 mph.

28. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, 136.867 mph.

29. (9) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 136.794 mph.

thirty. (34) David Ragan, Ford, 136.789 mph.

31. (26) Cole Whitt #, Toyota, 136.726 mph.

32. (33) Brian Scott(i), Chevrolet, 136.721 mph.

33. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 136.545 mph.

34. (83) Ryan Truex #, Toyota, 135.875 mph.

35. (23) Alex Bowman #, Toyota, 135.614 mph.

36. (30) Parker Kligerman #, Toyota, 135.384 mph.

37. (35) Blake Koch(i), Ford, Proprietor Factors

38. (66) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, Owner Factors

39. (36) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, Owner Factors

40. (32) Travis Kvapil, Ford, Proprietor Points

41. (6) Michael Annett #, Chevrolet, Owner Points

42. (87) Morgan Shepherd(i), Toyota, Owner Factors

43. (51) Justin Allgaier #, Chevrolet, Owner Points

3 drivers failed to qualify

44. (98) Josh Sensible, Chevrolet, 135.287 mph.

45. (forty) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 135.115 mph.

46. (77) Dave Blaney, Ford, 134.238 mph.

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