Team Penske obviously has this knockout-style qualifying thing figured out, sweeping the front row for the second week in a row.
But unlike a week ago when Brad Keselowski set fast time, it was Joey Logano who won the pole position Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Logano's lap of 193.278 mph broke the previous track-record held by Kasey Kahne by nearly three miles per hour.
"I told (Keselowski) we're 1-to-1 now," Logano said. "Two weeks right off the bat to have a front row is awesome for Penske. It's a privilege to drive these cars. Everything is clicking. Now we just need to put it all together and win the big one."
Las Vegas marked the debut of NASCAR's new qualifying format on a 1.5-mile track featuring all drivers on the speedway at once posting times during the initial 25-minute segment. At the conclusion, the fastest 24 drivers advance to the second round, and after 10 minutes of track time, the field is then pared to 12 for the third and final session to set the starting lineup.
The format again featured the odd sight of cars running slow along the apron to cool their engines between qualifying stints. As they did last week at Phoenix, many drivers spoke out against the tactic because of the dramatic variances in speed.
"We don't have impact data on 170-180 mph differential impacts," Brian Vickers said. "If I hit someone with those speed discrepancies, that's going to be really bad for everyone. Unquestionably, it's more exciting for the fans. It's fun, interesting, but there are some things that have to take place. That's the most dangerous thing I've ever done in a race car."
NASCAR forbids the lifting of the hood during qualifying to prevent unapproved adjustments, which also prevents teams from utilizing cooling systems.
Clint Bowyer and Austin Dillon will start third and fourth, respectively. Defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson is fifth. Current series points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 14th.
"I felt like I've got a little bit better car than that," Earnhardt said. "I messed up getting into (Turn) one on that last run. We will have to work on the car tomorrow. I feel like it's a fun race track and we really enjoy running here. Hopefully we can get it tuned in."
Blake Koch, Landon Cassill, Dave Blaney, Joe Nemechek and J.J. Yeley failed to qualify.
Kobalt 400 starting lineup
|6)||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||Ford||192.596|
|12)||Martin Truex Jr||Chevrolet||191.51|
|14)||Dale Earnhardt Jr||Chevrolet||191.618|