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Ryan Blaney rides wind to Pennzoil 400 pole position

Updated March 2, 2018 - 9:48 pm

In the old Broadway musicals, they called the wind Maria.

On pole day at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, they called it something else.

“It’s tough and it’s hard to pin it down,” young NASCAR lion Ryan Blaney said Friday after steering through 25 mph winds to set the fastest qualifying time for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400.

“You can get a 20, 25 mph gust one lap and then 5 (mph) the next. It just messes you all up.”

The 24-year-old Blaney, who joined Roger Penske’s high-profile team during the offseason, won the pole spot with a speed of 191.489 mph. Kevin Harvick, last week’s winner at Atlanta, was second at 190.248 followed by Stewart-Haas teammate Kurt Busch of Las Vegas at 190.067. All three were in Fords.

Last year’s Las Vegas and Cup Series champion Martin Truex will start fourth in a Toyota. Chevrolet drivers Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott will begin from Row 3.

Las Vegan Kyle Busch, who will be trying to win his hometown race for the second time, will line up 13th after posting a qualifying speed of 188.838.

The wind is supposed to subside by Sunday, which will come as good news to outside pole starter Harvick.

“You had to be really careful just to get into Turn 3 and not get off the racetrack with the wind blowing in that direction,” Harvick said.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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