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Joey Logano Secures “Very Special Pole” for All-Star Race

Joey Logano

Joey Logano gazes at the big picture after winning the pole for Sunday night’s NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro. (Photo: Phil Cavali | The Podium Finish)

NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. — Joey Logano may be a NASCAR Cup Series veteran with 16 years of experiences, complete with 32 wins and two championships. However, he is still one of the young racers in stock car’s premier series.

Along the way, the Middletown, Connecticut, native has garnered some of NASCAR’s prestigious wins like the 2015 DAYTONA 500 and 2016 NASCAR All-Star Race. Growing up from the brash, tenacious racer at age 18 in 2008 to a respected, aggressive driver in 2024, the hunger remains to succeed each weekend.

As the lead veteran racer of Team Penske’s Cup efforts, Logano’s latest focus is winning Sunday night’s mid-spring exhibition. This time, he hopes to capture the checkered flag at the 0.625-mile North Wilkesboro Speedway.

So far, Logano has made life a bit easier toward achieving such a goal. On Saturday, Logano, with the help of his lightning fast pit crew, nabbed the pole position with a time of 89.754 seconds.

The driver of the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang Dark Horse tipped his cap to his team on their overall efforts in the unique qualifying session.

“It’s probably the most fun qualifying session we have all year, and I think that’s why we didn’t cancel it,” Logano said. “We just postponed it because everyone looks forward to this event, and it really does a great job at showcasing every team member on the team.

“From setting the dash to make sure all the lights are right and making sure you maximize your speed on pit road, to the car going fast obviously.”

Normally, poles are decided by a driver who lets it all hang out on the track. This time, along with executing on the track, it was all about his pit crew and spotter communicating and nailing their pit stop, from start to finish.

Joey Logano

Joey Logano’s No. 22 pit crew delivered with a solid pit stop to catalyze their driver to the NASCAR All-Star Race pole at North Wilkesboro. (Photo: Phil Cavali | The Podium Finish)

“Executing onto pit road, rolling time,” he shared. “The spotter helping me be able to make sure I hit all the right lights around the corners to maximize that. Obviously, the pit crew doing their part and then back onto the racetrack. It’s a very detail-oriented exchange all the way through that we typically see every weekend when we have green flag stops, but it’s really neat to put it all on the line and do that today.

“It’s a very special pole, maybe the most special pole I’ve ever had because it’s a great example of everybody and I’m proud of that. It’s a lot of work that goes into the minute-and-a-half out there.”

Still, Logano knows there was more to the pole winning effort than speed. It came down to execution.

“It’s hard to say where exactly it was,” he said. “Our lap was really good. Our lap was maybe the second or third-best, so we were pretty good there. On the pit road, it seemed of the ones that did not speed we were ahead every time by the time we got to pit road speed. It looked like our corner speed was good. It looked like I was able to roll a little bit of distance just from watching the Fox broadcast probably like everybody else on the SMT data they put up there.

“You can’t tell the into stall part. They didn’t show that – how hard you get into the stall or how good you left to get back to your pit road lights, but I’d say overall we didn’t have the advantage pit stall. There was one that was better than the other, for sure, and we didn’t have that, so to overcome that makes it even more special.”

Unlike the lot of the field, Logano will start with a clear path ahead of him on the newly repaved track. Even with the tire strategies between prime, baseline tires and option, soft tires, Logano gets to dictate the flow of the opening stanza at North Wilkesboro.

Joey Logano

When it comes down to the finish, Joey Logano will show no mercy in the NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro. (Photo: Phil Cavali | The Podium Finish)

“Being out front helps tire wear, no doubt, and you can run your pace and you’re not scrubbing your tires in dirty air and all that type of stuff,” Logano observed. “I don’t think the strategy is very clear yet. We got 50 minutes of practice I went through a set on and ran as long as they felt comfortable out there, or as much time as they had to run that many laps, and looking at the data afterwards it’s still not super clear what you would do.

“A lot of it depends on what place you’re running and all that, but it’s not as clear as you may think when it comes to when you’re gonna put the softs on, or the option tire. I don’t know. There’s a lot of question to it.”

When it comes down to the finish, regardless of the tire strategy, Logano knows he will be lurking after his prey to win the $1 million check on Sunday night.

“Hopefully, they last longer than the next guy. It’s like outrunning a bear. You’ve just got to go faster than the slowest guy,” Logano said with a laugh.

Rob Tiongson is a sports writer and editor originally from the Boston area and resides in the Austin, Texas, area. Tiongson has covered motorsports series like NASCAR and INDYCAR since 2008 and NHRA since 2013. Most recently, Tiongson is covering professional basketball, mainly the WNBA, and women's college basketball. While writing and editing for The Podium Finish, Tiongson currently seeks for a long-term sportswriting and sports content creating career. Tiongson enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson is an alum of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and St. Bonaventure University's renowned Jandoli School of Communication with a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism.

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