NASCAR & Auto Racing

Red-hot Joey Logano wins Sprint Cup pole at Atlanta

Joey Logano celebrates with crew members after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 in Hampton, Ga.
Joey Logano celebrates with crew members after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 in Hampton, Ga. Getty Images

Joey Logano picked up Friday right where he left off at Daytona.

Logano, who won last Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500, saved his fastest average lap speed for the final round of Friday’s qualifying session and won the pole for Sunday’s Folds of Honor 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

His average lap speed at 194.683 mph was more than 3 mph faster than last year’s fastest lap set by Aric Almirola despite rules this season set by NASCAR that reduced horsepower and downforce.

The pole is the ninth of Logano’s Sprint Cup Series career and first at Atlanta.

Kevin Harvick will start second, Jamie McMurray third, Denny Hamlin fourth and Carl Edwards fifth.

Thirteen teams failed to post a qualifying speed, including Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, when their cars failed to pass prequalifying inspection.

Car missing; home damaged

It was an eventful morning at Atlanta with one Cup Series driver’s race car allegedly stolen and another driver’s motorhome damaged from a SUV that rolled down an embankment and through a fence.

Team Xtreme, which planned to field an entry this weekend with driver Travis Kvapil, reported a truck and small hauler stolen from its hotel parking lot in Morrow, Ga., Friday morning. Inside the hauler was the No. 44 Chevrolet that Kvapil planned to run in Sunday’s Folds of Honor 500.

Without the car, the team was forced to withdraw from the race.

Later Friday morning, an SUV parked in a lot adjacent to the drivers motorhome lot, rolled backward down an embankment, through a temporary fence and into the back of Hamlin’s motorhome, doing superficial damage.

Busch released from hospital

Kyle Busch was released from a Charlotte-area hospital and returned home Friday, two days after having successful surgery on his left foot.

Busch suffered a compound fracture in his right leg and mid-foot fracture of his left foot in an accident in last weekend’s Xfinity Series opener at Daytona International Speedway, when his car plowed nose-first into a wall lacking energy-absorbing SAFER barriers.

David Ragan is substituting for Busch for the next several weeks as Busch begins his recovery and rehabilitation process from his injuries.

Hornish, Almirola add races

Richard Petty Motorsports drivers Aric Almirola and Sam Hornish Jr. have added Xfinity Series races to their respective schedules this season.

Hornish will drive Biagi-DenBenste Racing’s No. 98 Ford in Saturday’s race at Atlanta and on March 21 at Fontana, Calf. Almirola will drive the car in the March 7 race at Las Vegas.

Bowyer named TV analyst

Cup driver Clint Bowyer will serve as a race analyst during two upcoming Xfinity Series races, the March 21 race at Fontana (Fox Sports 1) and May 23 at Charlotte (Fox).

Earnhardt doc runs Monday

NASCAR Productions and Spike TV joined up to create a documentary on the life of seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt. The film, “I am Dale Earnhardt,” premieres at 10 p.m. Monday on Spike TV.

Utter: 704-358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter

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