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Ryan Blaney Tames Tricky Triangle For Cup Series Pole

Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway
Saturday, June 2, 2018

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Ryan  Blaney scored his fourth-career pole on Friday
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Just as he had done in winning his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race last June, Ryan Blaney Kept Kevin Harvick behind him at Pocono Raceway when it mattered most.

Blaney sped around the 2.5-mile triangular track in 50.877 seconds (176.897 mph) in Friday's knockout qualifying session to earn the top starting spot for Sunday's Pocono 400.

In winning his first Busch Pole Award at the Tricky Triangle, his second of the season and the fourth of his career, Blaney beat Harvick (176.807 mph) by .026 seconds. Harvick, a five-time winner in the series this year, had the top speed in each of the previous two rounds.

But Pocono is becoming a special track for Blaney, who got his first taste of competition in a quarter midget on the dirt track outside Turn 3.

"I've always enjoyed this place," Blaney said. "I enjoyed coming here to watch my dad (Dave Blaney) race. I made my first-ever start in a race car at the dirt track out there. So it's been special to me.

"Me and Jeb Burton and Brandon McReynolds grew up racing scooters. There used to be a small Pocono with MRO (Motor Racing Outreach) in the infield over there. We used to race scooters around that. I have a lot of memories about this place."

Blaney and his No. 12 team also have developed a knack for negotiating the track with three distinctly different turns.

"I feel like we have a pretty good line of communication with where we need to be from practice to qualifying to the race. I feel very comfortable, and the team feels very confident, and that's always a good combination."

Harvick had a pole-winning lap going until he slipped in Turn 3.

"I thought we did a really good job of trying to pick a pace and trying not to be a hero on every lap, and we were able to pick up a 10th (of a second) in each round," Harvick said. "We got a little loose there in (Turn) 3, and I didn't want to tug on the wheel any more just because of the fact I didn't want it to get any looser.

"So I just let it slide to the center and had to wait and gave up a good solid 10th there. It was still a great lap for our Busch Beer Ford, and starting up front is a big deal here."

Jamie McMurray qualified third in the No. 1 Chevrolet, followed by Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. Kyle Busch, who picked up his fourth victory of the season in last Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, will roll off fifth beside brother Kurt Busch, who qualified sixth.

Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott and Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon completed the top 12.

RACE LINEUP

Pos # Driver Sponsor/Make Lap Speed
1 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Duracell Ford 50.877 176.897
2 4 Kevin Harvick Busch Beer Ford 50.903 176.807
3 1 Jamie McMurray GEARWRENCH Chevrolet 50.955 176.626
4 78 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota 50.987 176.516
5 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Red White & Blue Toyota 50.998 176.478
6 41 Kurt Busch Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford 51.076 176.208
7 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 51.083 176.184
8 31 Ryan Newman Kalahari Resorts Chevrolet 51.176 175.864
9 14 Clint Bowyer Busch Light Ford 51.195 175.798
10 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Office Toyota 51.197 175.792
11 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 51.361 175.23
12 3 Austin Dillon Dow Chevrolet 51.52 174.689
13 42 Kyle Larson DC Solar Chevrolet 51.524 174.676
14 88 Alex Bowman Nationwide Chevrolet 51.579 174.49
15 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet 51.616 174.365
16 24 William Byron # Unifirst Chevrolet 51.649 174.253
17 2 Brad Keselowski Wurth Ford 51.661 174.213
18 19 Daniel Suarez ARRIS Toyota 51.69 174.115
19 43 Darrell Wallace Jr. # Weis Markets Chevrolet 51.811 173.708
20 21 Paul Menard Motorcraft Ford 51.833 173.635
21 38 David Ragan MDS Transport Ford 51.934 173.297
22 95 Kasey Kahne FDNY Foundation Chevrolet 52.024 172.997
23 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Little Hug Fruit Barrels Ford 52.182 172.473
24 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger ClickList Chevrolet 52.007 173.054
25 20 Erik Jones DeWalt Toyota 52.081 172.808
26 6 Matt Kenseth Ford Ford 52.14 172.612
27 37 Chris Buescher Louisiana Hot Sauce Chevrolet 52.187 172.457
28 51 Cole Custer(i) Haas CNC/Prefund Capital Ford 52.197 172.424
29 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet 52.658 170.914
30 34 Michael McDowell Dockside Logistics Ford 52.703 170.768
31 15 Ross Chastain(i) Chevrolet 52.908 170.107
32 32 Matt DiBenedetto Zynga Poker Ford 53.354 168.685
33 0 Landon Cassill TW Cable LLC Chevrolet 53.477 168.297
34 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 53.855 167.115
35 72 Cole Whitt Chevrolet 53.882 167.032
36 23 Gray Gaulding BK Racing Toyota 53.927 166.892
37 7 JJ Yeley(i) Steakhouse Elite Chevrolet 53.935 166.868
38 99 Derrike Cope StarCom Fiber Chevrolet 54.753 164.375



 

 

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