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Pocono NASCAR: Ganassi's rookie Kyle Larson claims pole

Kyle Larson, Ganassi Chevrolet, Pocono NASCAR 2014

NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie Kyle Larson will start from first place for the second time in his top-level career after heading qualifying at Pocono.

The Ganassi driver had also led the field away at Richmond in April, although on that occasion rain in qualifying meant his pole was secured via practice times.

At Pocono he fended off Penske's Joey Logano - who had been quickest in the first two qualifying segments - by 0.008 seconds to claim his first pole in a traditional session.

While most of the pole contenders took their one shot at the start of the decisive five-minute session, Logano's team-mate Brad Keselowski left it until there were just seconds to spare before making his bid, but could only manage third.

Practice pacesetter Kurt Busch secured fourth, with Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick - winner and polesitter respectively at Indianapolis last week - sharing row three.

Denny Hamlin took pole for the previous Pocono round in June, but narrowly missed the final qualifying cut this time.

Reigning champion Jimmie Johnson had come close to being eliminated in the first round, with a mistake and a blend line penalty hampering his early runs.

A last-gasp lap got him from 29th to 23rd among the 24 who progressed, although he only managed 17th on the grid in the end.

Roush Fenway duo Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards were the biggest names knocked out in the opening segment, with their team-mate Ricky Stenhouse Jr responsible for edging Biffle out in the final moment. Not that Stenhouse got much further, as he only qualified 23rd in part two.

Two further practice sessions follow on Saturday before the race takes place on Sunday. Rain is a danger throughout the weekend but Friday's practice and qualifying were not interrupted at all - although a heavy shower struck just minutes after pole was decided.

Follow the Pocono NASCAR Sprint Cup race as it happens with AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live, starting approximately 6pm UK time on Sunday

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                 Time     Gap
 1.  Kyle Larson         Ganassi Chevrolet        49.063s
 2.  Joey Logano         Penske Ford              49.071s  +0.008s
 3.  Brad Keselowski     Penske Ford              49.261s  +0.198s
 4.  Kurt Busch          Stewart-Haas Chevrolet   49.272s  +0.209s
 5.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet       49.285s  +0.222s
 6.  Kevin Harvick       Stewart-Haas Chevrolet   49.426s  +0.363s
 7.  Kyle Busch          Joe Gibbs Toyota         49.445s  +0.382s
 8.  Jamie McMUrray      Ganassi Chevrolet        49.446s  +0.383s
 9.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet       49.521s  +0.458s
10.  Danica Patrick      Stewart-Haas Chevrolet   49.547s  +0.484s
11.  Austin Dillon       Childress Chevrolet      49.558s  +0.495s
12.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet       49.647s  +0.584s
13.  Denny Hamlin        Joe Gibbs Toyota         49.680s  Q2
14.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota           49.681s  Q2
15.  Brian Vickers       Waltrip Toyota           49.765s  Q2
16.  Tony Stewart        Stewart-Haas Chevrolet   49.802s  Q2
17.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet       49.861s  Q2
18.  Matt Kenseth        Joe Gibbs Toyota         49.924s  Q2
19.  Martin Truex Jr     Furniture Row Chevrolet  49.963s  Q2
20.  AJ Allmendinger     JTG Daugherty Chevrolet  50.004s  Q2
21.  Ryan Newman         Childress Chevrolet      50.034s  Q2
22.  Justin Allgaier     HScott Chevrolet         50.164s  Q2
23.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr  Roush Fenway Ford        50.194s  Q2
24.  Casey Mears         Germain Chevrolet        50.260s  Q2
25.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford        50.232s  Q1
26.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford        50.280s  Q1
27.  Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford               50.303s  Q1
28.  Aric Almirola       Petty Ford               50.304s  Q1
29.  Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet      50.318s  Q1
30.  David Gilliland     Front Row Ford           50.548s  Q1
31.  Josh Wise           Parsons Chevrolet        50.646s  Q1
32.  Landon Cassill      Hillman Chevrolet        50.654s  Q1
33.  Cole Whitt          BK Toyota                50.687s  Q1
34.  Travis Kvapil       FAS Lane Ford            50.733s  Q1
35.  Reed Sorenson       Baldwin Chevrolet        50.746s  Q1
36.  Alex Bowman         BK Toyota                50.991s  Q1
37.  Ryan Truex          BK Toyota                51.012s  Q1
38.  Michael Annett      Baldwin Chevrolet        51.017s  Q1
39.  David Ragan         Front Row Ford           51.109s  Q1
40.  Dave Blaney         Baldwin Chevrolet        51.487s  Q1
41.  Joe Nemechek        NEMCO Toyota             52.239s  Q1
42.  Alex Kennedy        Circle Sport Chevrolet   52.265s  Q1
43.  Johnny Sauter       BK Toyota                54.164s  Q1
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Earnhardt defeats Harvick at Pocono