Joey Logano

HAMPTON — Joey Logano raced to the pole position Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Ambetter 400, leading a Team Penske sweep of the top three positions.

Austin Cindric (driving the No. 2 Menards/Knauf Ford) took second and Ryan Blaney (No. 12 BodyArmor Smart Body Ford) took third to secure the top three slots for Team Penske.

“Obviously Team Penske had a great day today and we’ll try to continue that tomorrow,” Logano said.

It wasn’t just a banner day for Team Penske but for Fords, as Fords took the top eight positions on the grid with Brad Keselowski (No. 6 King’s Hawaiian Ford/RFK Racing) in fourth, Aric Almirola (No. 10 Smithfield Ford/Stewart-Haas Racing) in fifth, Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford/Stewart Haas Racing) in sixth, Chris Buescher (No. 17 Violet Defense Ford/RFK Racing) in seventh, and Chase Briscoe (No. 14 Ford/Stewart Haas Racing) in eighth.

“Hopefully our Auto Trader Mustang’s got the handling,” Logano (No. 22 Autotrader Ford) said moments after getting the pole. “Nobody knows what they got for handling without practice but we definitely got the speed in our racecar and hopefully we can maintain this track position.”

Kyle Larson (No. 5 Chevrolet/Hendrick Motorsports) drove the top Chevrolet in qualifying with ninth place while Christopher Bell (No. 20 DeWalt Toyota/Joe Gibbs Racing) was the top Toyota with a 10 th place position.

“I’ve never been on the front row of a superspeedway, forget pole, so I don’t think I’ve done it in an Xfinity race so this is kind of cool,” Logano said.

The pole position also holds special meaning for Logano as he raced Bandoleros and Legends racecars on Atlanta Motor Speedway’s quarter-mile track from 1999-2003.

“Doing it here in Atlanta for me is so special…so many memories here,” he said. “I lived up there in one of those condos (at AMS) for four or five years and raced Legends cars out here six years and just the memories of walking into victory lane a minute ago to get the pole award thinking about driving my Legends car in there with my dad and how cool that was, always dreamed about being at the big track when I was at the quarter-mile and how neat it is to be on the big track.”

Logano has accomplished much in NASCAR, including winning two championships and winning many races but he’s never won at AMS.

“There’s been races where we’ve been so close, have the dominant racecar and had issues happen,” Logano said. “That was before they repaved it but we were capable of winning. For me, it was always a dream to win on this racetrack. It’s always been something that’s been stuck in my mind and I look at it as a second home track to me. Loudon (New Hampshire) is always going to be special because that’s where I’m from but living down here for the amount of time that … and the memories I have on the quarter-mile there I guess I can’t come here not thinking about growing up as a kid racing.”

After he got the pole Saturday, Logano was able to spend a few minutes with some young racecar drivers, which he relished.

“I just saw a couple of kids in victory lane that race Bandoleros and I just wanted to talk to them for 10 minutes,” he said. “Honestly, (racing Bandoleros and Legends) was the most special time racing in my career and you don’t realize it when you’re a kid but you realize it when you get a little older how special it really is.”

William Byron (No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet/Hendrick Motorsports), who has won the last two Cup series races, qualified in 11th.

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