The Journal Gazette
Sunday, May 08, 2022 1:00 am

Logano faster than Larson to win pole for Cup event

Associated Press

DARLINGTON, S.C. – Former NASCAR Cup Series champions Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick will start at the rear of the field today at Darlington Raceway.

Denny Hamlin will be back there, too.

All three will have lots of ground to make up on pole-sitter Joey Logano. Logano reached 170.720 mph and turned a fast lap of 28.805 seconds to clinch the top spot in qualifying, edging Kyle Larson.

Larson will start second, one row ahead of Hendrick Motorsports teammate Christopher Bell and Martin Truex Jr. Brothers Kyle and Kurt Busch will share the third row, assuming Kyle makes the race. The younger Busch is awaiting the birth of his second child through a surrogate mother.

Trevor Bayne is on standby in case Busch has to leave Darlington for the birth.

Busch and everyone else up front enjoyed problem-free qualifying runs. Elliott, Harvick and Hamlin couldn't say the same.

Elliott crashed because of a flat tire and damaged the front of his car, forcing his team to scramble to get a backup car put together. Harvick blew a left-rear tire in practice and did enough damage that he was unable to make a qualifying attempt. Hamlin, who won last year's Southern 500 at Darlington, damaged the diffuser during his qualifying run. Replacing it forced him to the rear of the field.

Xfinity series

Justin Allgaier put JR Motorsports in victory lane for the third consecutive week in the Xfinity Series by winning at Darlington Raceway on Saturday.

Allgaier ended a 34-race winless streak when he passed AJ Allmendinger to start a two-lap sprint following a caution and cruised the final 2.7 miles to give team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. another victory in NASCAR's second-tier feeder series.

Noah Gragson won two weeks ago at Talladega Superspeedway and Josh Berry won last week at Dover Motor Speedway. Allgaier was a nonfactor at Talladega and a runner-up a week later.

This was a minor breakthrough, even though it was Allgaier's 17th career victory in the series. It was his first in a year, with the last one also coming at Darlington. He's been in the mix plenty, just not the first one across the finish line.

Allgaier treated this one like it's been a while, too. He thanked everyone he could think of, grabbed the checkered flag and walked the outside wall while shaking hands and celebrating with fans.

“Got the job done,” said Allgaier, who was forced to start the race from the back of the field. “I'm super pumped. ... We've been doing this way too long. You know how this feels, and this feels great to get back to victory lane. We'll hopefully carry this momentum on for a few more weeks.”

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