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‘Statement-type lap’: Logano wins pole at LVMS after glove infraction

Joey Logano was looking forward to seeing one thing about Ford’s new Dark Horse Mustang car when it unloaded at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Cup Series’ first 1½-mile track of the season.

“We’re looking to see if it’s fast,” Logano said last week. “That’s the biggest thing. The raw speed. We know it looks cool. We got that part figured out. It’s the little things.”

Logano said he still wasn’t sure what to see after posting the 18th-fastest time in practice, but he found the speed during qualifying.

Logano won the pole for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 at LVMS with a fast lap of 29.291 seconds and speed of 184.357 mph in his Team Penske No. 22 Ford. Green flag is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

“I really didn’t think after the first round (of qualifying) that we had a chance of putting it on the pole,” Logano said. “I’m proud of the adjustments that we made, but we still have some work to do tonight.”

Kyle Larson, who won at LVMS in October, qualified second in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, and Logano’s teammate Austin Cindric will start third.

Logano dominated the talk in the garage before qualifying, but not for a good reason. NASCAR earlier in the day showed an illegal glove Logano and his team were penalized for.

The glove, not approved by the SFI Foundation, had webbing that can help a driver block airflow into the car during a qualifying run. SFI is a nonprofit organization that has administered the standards for the quality assurance of specialty performance and racing equipment since 1978.

“We spotted something that was honestly concerning,” NASCAR Cup Series director Brad Moran said Saturday morning in a presentation about the illegal glove. “As you can see, the entire glove is webbed. The reason for that is you can obviously block more air. The drivers do put their hand up against the (window) opening, which we’ve never really had a rule against.”

When first asked about his glove after walking into the media center after winning the pole, Logano said with a grin: “We won the pole, you want to talk about that first?”

“As the driver, you work with the team, and I’m going to take a portion of responsibility of that too, obviously. I should. I put the glove on,” Logano said. “I didn’t build the glove or make it on my own. I can’t sew. We had conversations about it.”

Logano won the pole at the Daytona 500 and qualified second at Atlanta last week. The glove was confiscated after qualifying at Atlanta, and Logano was fined $10,000.

“What I’m proud about with this team — that was a tough situation, hard to go through and embarrassing — is the fact that we got through it and just moved on and focused on the next week,” Logano said.

“We showed that we have some speed in our racecar and are able to put it on the pole,” he added. “To me, it’s a statement-type lap. I’m proud of that.”

Wind speeds were whirling between 35 to 45 mph, with gusts much higher. Logano said he felt a difference with the wind as he drove into turns 1 and 2 during his qualifying runs.

Logano said there are still uncertainties about how the new Mustang will race Sunday with 36 other drivers.

“It’s really challenging to unload at a track like Vegas with limited practice where you can’t change many things,” Logano said. “You’re going off of, not really physical notes with the car. You’re putting a lot of trust into what the wind tunnel numbers spit out.”

Four Fords qualified in the top 10. Toyota also introduced a new car for this season — the Camry XSE — and four Toyotas qualified in the top 10, led by Bubba Wallace in fifth.

“There’s a lot of what-ifs between the (simulation) world and the wind tunnel world to reality,” Logano said. “There’s a lot of things that can be different. It’s really hard to make those changes to your car and getting that balance right, and so it took us a couple of runs obviously to do that.

“We still got a lot to learn with the car, but a good start for sure.”

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on X. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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