In a season of firsts, Joey Logano added yet another first-time achievement Friday, earning the pole for Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway for the first time in his Sprint Cup career.
Logano covered the .526-mile short track at a speed of 98.461 mph, making him the 58th different driver to start from the pole at Martinsville, which is hosting its 133rd Cup race this weekend, dating back to 1949.
It was the second pole of the season for the Daytona 500 winner — he also started first at Las Vegas three weeks ago — and the 10th of his career.
“It’s cool because I’ve come so close to getting the pole here at Martinsville but never got it,” Logano told Fox Sports 1. “After that fifth lap, I held my breath because that was all I got.
“This is definitely one of the big races that everybody wants to check off and have that big (grandfather’s) clock (for winning the race) in their living room. … We’re going to try and win it and see what happens.”
Ryan Newman will start Sunday’s race on the outside pole with a speed of 98.328 mph.
The other top five starters were Martin Truex Jr. (98.048 mph), Jeff Gordon (97.613) and Jimmie Johnson (97.583).
Chase Elliott, making his Sprint Cup career debut, had to qualify on speed and did so comfortably. He’ll start Sunday’s race from the 27th position.
“It’s a big relief for us,” Elliott said. “We’re excited. It’s weird being excited about qualifying 27th, but we’re in the show, first Sprint Cup Series race with NAPA on board and excited for Sunday.”
Logano was the only Ford driver in the top-10. Eight others were Chevrolet drivers, and Matt Kenseth was the only Toyota driver, qualifying No. 8.
In other action:
* Tony Stewart, who has struggled during the first five races of the season, qualified sixth, his best start thus far in 2015.
* With less than three minutes left in the first qualifying session, veteran driver Ron Hornaday Jr. wrecked. He failed to qualify. Also failing to qualify for the race was Brendan Gaughan.
* Casey Mears came out to make a second-round qualifying run, only to suffer mechanical failure.
“We’re pretty sure it’s the transmission,” Mears told Fox Sports 1. “It broke every gear, so something major broke.”
Mears qualified 24th, but will have to start at the back of the field due to the transmission change.
“We had a really fast race car, too. … It’s unfortunate. This means I’ll have to start at the back. This is a tough place to rebound from (starting in the back) but we have a fast car and I’m looking forward to the race.”
* In the second session, Justin Allgaier spun and hit the wall, sustaining moderate damage to his No. 51 Chevrolet.
Here’s the results from Friday’s qualifying for Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway:
1 Joey Logano (98.461 mph)
2 Ryan Newman (98.328)
3 Martin Truex Jr. (98.048)
4 Jeff Gordon (97.613)
5 Jimmie Johnson (97.583)
6. Tony Stewart (97.468)
7 Kyle Larson (97.463)
8 Matt Kenseth (97.392)
9 Kasey Kahne (97.282)
10 AJ Allmendinger (97.262)
11 Carl Edwards (97.177)
12 Brad Keselowski (97.038)
13 Paul Menard (97.387)
14 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (97.302)
15 Denny Hamlin (97.267)
16 Danica Patrick (97.267)
17 Kevin Harvick (97.257)
18 Aric Almirola (97.237)
19 Jamie McMurray (97.222)
20 David Ragan (96.800)
21 Justin Allgaier (96.790)
22 Austin Dillon (96.760)
23 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (96.558)
24 Casey Mears (97.312)
25 Greg Biffle (96.983)
26 Kurt Busch (96.944)
27 Chase Elliott (96.919)
28 Michael Annett (96.899)
29 David Gilliland (96.666)
30 Clint Bowyer (96.617)
31 Josh Wise (96.607)
32 Jeb Burton (96.494)
33 Brett Moffitt (96.357)
34 Landon Cassill (96.298)
35 Chris Buescher (96.259)
36 Trevor Bayne (96.254)
37 Cole Whitt (owner points)
38 Sam Hornish Jr. (owner points)
39 Alex Bowman (owner points)
40 Mike Bliss (owner points)
41 Alex Kennedy (owner points)
42 JJ Yeley (owner points)
43 Matt DiBenedetto (owner points)
Did not qualify: Ron Hornaday Jr., Brendan Gaughan