Erik Jones Nips Joey Logano for Vegas Pole

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LAS VEGAS, NV – RIS – Erik Jones shocked the industry by winning the pole for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  He nipped Joey Logano in the final qualifying round in the first race of the Cup playoffs.  Logano will start second.

Jones opened the first weekend of the postseason by earning his second career pole in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. The 22-year-old is the youngest driver ever to win the pole at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“You can’t start them off any better than that,” Jones said. “We’ve got a long way to go this weekend, but we’ve got the speed to do it. … Was it maybe unexpected to outsiders, or people that aren’t in our group? Probably, but we’ve been consistently setting the bar high. For us, it was not a big surprise to be quick.”

Logano did his lap in 28.708 seconds in his Team Penske Ford to take a front-row spot. Denny Hamlin was third, followed by Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.  Logano’s time was only .003 seconds slower to Jones’ 28.705 speed.

Jones had just one previous pole in his first 65 Cup races, but the youngster is quietly making progress. He earned his first career victory at Daytona in July by holding off Martin Truex Jr. in overtime, and he has six top-10 finishes in eight races since that breakthrough.


Starting Line Up - Inaugural South Point 400, Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Pos, Driver, Car, Speed, Time
1) Erik Jones (P), 20 DeWalt Toyota, 188.121, 28.705
2) Joey Logano (P), 22 Pennzoil Ford, 188.101, 28.708
3) Denny Hamlin (P), 11 FedEx Ground Toyota, 187.624, 28.781
4) Kyle Busch (P), 18 M&M's Toyota, 187.402, 28.815
5) Kevin Harvick (P), 4 Mobil 1 Ford, 187.396, 28.816
6) Ryan Blaney (P), 12 PPG Ford, 187.084, 28.864
7) Chase Elliott (P), 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, 186.735, 28.918
8) Kurt Busch (P), 41 Haas Automation Ford, 186.483, 28.957
9) Alex Bowman (P), 88 Valvoline Chevrolet, 186.374, 28.974
10) Martin Truex Jr. (P), 78 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, 186.098, 29.017
11) Kyle Larson (P), 42 DC Solar Vegas Strong Chevrolet, 185.950, 29.040
12) Jamie McMurray, 1 GEARWRENCH Chevrolet, 183.125, 29.488
13) Brad Keselowski (P), 2 Autotrader Ford, 186.619, 28.936
14) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 17 SunnyD Ford, 186.599, 28.939
15) Clint Bowyer (P), 14 One Cure Ford, 186.580, 28.942
16) Aric Almirola (P), 10 Smithfield Ford, 186.548, 28.947
17) Jimmie Johnson (P), 48 Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet, 186.509, 28.953
18) Austin Dillon (P), 3 DOWFROST Chevrolet, 186.483, 28.957
19) Daniel Suarez, 19 ARRIS Toyota, 186.451, 28.962
20) Paul Menard, 21 Menards/Aquafina Ford, 186.432, 28.965
21) William Byron #, 24 AXALTA Chevrolet, 186.400, 28.970
22) Ryan Newman, 31 Liberty National Chevrolet, 185.861, 29.054
23) Trevor Bayne, 6 AdvoCare Rehydrate Ford, 185.644, 29.088
24) Michael McDowell, 34 Speedco/Rotella Ford, 184.913, 29.203
25) Regan Smith, 95 Procore Chevrolet, 185.185, 29.160
26) Matt DiBenedetto, 32 Zynga Poker Ford, 184.938, 29.199
27) David Ragan, 38 MDS Transport Ford, 184.723, 29.233
28) Chris Buescher, 37 Natural Light Race Day Resume Chevrolet, 184.660, 29.243
29) AJ Allmendinger, 47 Kroger ClickList Chevrolet, 184.603, 29.252
30) Ty Dillon, 13 GEICO Chevrolet, 184.231, 29.311
31) Bubba Wallace #, 43 World Wide Technology Chevrolet, 182.815, 29.538
32) Corey LaJoie, 72 Dragonchain Chevrolet, 180.662, 29.890
33) Kyle Weatherman, 99 StarCom Fiber Chevrolet, 180.584, 29.903
34) Ross Chastain(i), 15 Xchange of America Chevrolet, 180.337, 29.944
35) Jeffrey Earnhardt, 96 American Soldier Network/Xtreme Concepts , 179.976, 30.004
36) JJ Yeley(i), 23 Steakhouse Elite Toyota, 179.432, 30.095
37) Landon Cassill(i), 00 StarCom Fiber Chevrolet, 178.283, 30.289
38) BJ McLeod(i), 51 Jacob Companies Ford, 177.538, 30.416
39) Timmy Hill(i), 66 Rewards.com Toyota, 176.085, 30.667
40) Reed Sorenson, 7  Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series

Ron Fleshman with John Davison

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2018, Issue 9, Posted 9:56 PM, 09.14.2018