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NASCAR at Martinsville 2019 Qualifying Results: Joey Logano Takes Pole Position

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2019

Joey Logano drives during the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at ISM Raceway, Sunday, March 10, 2019, in Avondale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Ralph Freso/Associated Press

Joey Logano beat out Aric Almirola on Saturday to capture the pole for Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia.

The pole marks the first of the season for Logano, who is just a few weeks removed from picking up his first win of the year in Las Vegas:

NASCAR @NASCAR

RT to congratulate @JoeyLogano on winning the #BuschPole! #STP500 | @MartinsvilleSwy https://t.co/D1ySbzVQBK

Here is a full rundown of Saturday's qualifying results at The Paperclip, courtesy of NASCAR.comΒ (time in seconds):

1. Joey Logano: 19.356

2. Aric Almirola: 19.393

3. Brad Keselowski: 19.430

4. Kevin Harvick: 19.445

5. Denny Hamlin: 19.449

6. William Byron: 19.481

7. Kyle Larson: 19.502

8. Chase Elliott: 19.511

9. Martin Truex Jr.: 19.518

10. Daniel Suarez: 19.556

11. Clint Bowyer: 19.581

12. Jimmie Johnson: 19.608

13. Chris Buescher: 19.571

14. Kyle Busch: 19.579

15. Paul Menard: 19.583

16. Ryan Preece: 19.588

17. Alex Bowman: 19.593

18. Ryan Blaney: 19.602

19. Erik Jones: 19.602

20. Kurt Busch: 19.623

21. Ryan Newman: 19.626

22. Matt DiBenedetto: 19.630

23. Ty Dillon: 19.652

24. Michael McDowell: 19.695

25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: 19.664

26. David Ragan: 19.703

27. Bubba Wallace: 19.742

28. Landon Cassill: 19.785

29. Daniel Hemric: 19.807

30. Austin Dillon: 19.814

31. Ross Chastain: 19.846

32. Matt Tifft: 19.846

33. Jeb Burton: 19.998

34. D.J. Kennington: 20.013

35. Corey Lajoie: 0.000

36. Cody Ware: 0.000

Per Jeff Gluck of JeffGluck.com, Logano's pole was the continuation of his long history of success in qualifying at Martinsville:

Jeff Gluck @jeff_gluck

Pole for Joey Logano is his first of the season, fifth career at Martinsville, 21st of career overall.

Logano won the fall race at Martinsville last season, and his average finish of 13.2 at the track is fifth-best among active drivers behind only Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch.

After securing the pole, Logano expressed how much he enjoys running at Martinsville:

NASCAR @NASCAR

#BuschPole winner @JoeyLogano is stoked to start up front. He's hoping to bring home another πŸ•°πŸ•°πŸ•° https://t.co/NXe8ZpWwko

Most big-name drivers made it through the first round of qualifying Saturday, although Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Austin Dillon weren't so fortunate, as they qualified 25th and 30th, respectively.

Stenhouse narrowly missed reaching the second round by one spot, and he admitted that it was a disappointing performance:

NASCAR @NASCAR

"We'll go get 'em tomorrow." @StenhouseJr will not advance to Round 2 after qualifying 25th. https://t.co/4o9MR29UCM

More top stars faltered in the second round than the first with Kyle Busch standing out most in that regard. He will start in the 14th position, which is somewhat surprising since he is coming off two consecutive victories.

Ryan Blaney also struggled in the second round and qualified 18th, but he did well to prevent disaster from striking when his car got loose:

NASCAR @NASCAR

Wheel that machine, YRB! @Blaney saves the No. 12 after coming out of Turn 4 hot πŸ”₯ https://t.co/qyGL5cT2XT

Most of the drivers who are considered top championship contenders made it to the final round of qualifying, but none of them could hang with Logano, who posted a top speed of 97.830 mph.

Almirola's performance may have raised the most eyebrows since he is off to a great start this season with four top-10 finishes in five races, which has him sixth in the standings.

While Almirola only has two career Cup Series wins, his performance so far this season and in qualifying Saturday suggests he will be a threat to win Sunday.

With Logano's track record at Martinsville, however, there is little doubt that he is the driver to beat entering the STP 500.

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