NASCAR Notebook: Joey Logano Earns Cup Series’ Pole Position; Alex Bowman Feels For Josh Berry

NASCAR: Cup Practice and Qualifying

NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano, who won the fall race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, will start from the Pennzoil 400 pole after finishing first during qualifying Saturday.

Logano turned a hot lap of 186.053 mph, completing the 1.5-mile rotation in 29.024 seconds. The defending series champion earned his 27th career pole position. William Byron (185.153 mph) will start on the outside of the front row and Ryan Blaney (184.900) and rookie Ty Gibbs (184.540) form the top four starting spots.

Logano has claimed three of the past eight Cup events at Las Vegas, including last season’s playoff race en route to his second points title.

“The car was wicked good,” Logano said, as reported by “The (car) is fast. In practice, it was pretty good, and in qualifying (crew chief) Paul (Wolfe) really gave me a heck of a piece here.”
Logano drove the machine hard.

“I held it wide open – just being honest,” Logano said. “I kept (the accelerator) pinned around there. It’s on the edge, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a really fast car they gave me today, and hopefully, that speed translates over into the race.”

Harrison Burton experienced a crash along Turn 1, which made his Wood Brothers Racing Ford unrepairable. He will start Sunday in a backup car from the rear of the field.

Alex Bowman Knows What Josh Berry Feels As Substitute

With Chase Elliott recovering from a broken leg resulting from a snowboarding incident Friday, Josh Berry will step in and drive Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 9 Chevrolet during the Pennzoil 400. 

It’s certainly a challenge driving as a substitute. 

Alex Bowman knows what his new teammate will go through Sunday. 

After suffering through two frustrating Cup seasons in 2014 and ‘15, Bowman received a chance to return the next year when Dale Earnhardt Jr. was sidelined with a concussion. The assignment lasted 10 races and he turned in three top-10 finishes and his first career pole.  

“I think it’s a hard situation to step into,” Bowman told “Obviously, we had some success when I filled in, but it’s really hard. I think it’s only gotten harder with the Next Gen car coming in. The Xfinity car used to be so similar to a Cup car, and now they couldn’t be more different in how they drive and how you can approach how to aggressively drive them …  

“Definitely different, but I think it is a good opportunity for Josh to learn and to see how Hendrick Motorsports operates and to see the things that we do and to be a part of an organization like that, even though it’s through a situation that nobody wants.” 

Bowman also knows how frustrating it is watching a substitute pilot take over the machine. The nine-year veteran was out five events last year because of concussion-like symptoms and was replaced by Noah Gragson. 

Berry, who placed fifth in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas, will take the green flag from the 32nd spot Sunday.

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