Pocono NASCAR: Ganassi's rookie Kyle Larson claims pole
|Friday, August 1st 2014, 20:49 GMT|
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