LONG POND, Pa. — Kyle Larson had one more celebration left during his birthday week, setting a track record of 183.438 mph to win his first career Sprint Cup pole Friday afternoon at Pocono.
He broke the mark of 181.415 that Denny Hamlin set in June.
Larson, one of the top rookies in NASCAR, turned 22 on Thursday and wants to keep the party going with his first win Sunday. He could use a victory to secure a spot in the Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship, though he would make the 16-car field as it stands on points. "I really think a win is coming soon, maybe before the Chase starts," he said.
Joey Logano, who joined Larson on the front row, topped the first two rounds of qualifying and held the top spot until Larson bumped him in the third. "I knew we had a shot at the pole after the second round," Larson said. "I was nervous and I hit all three corners about as good as I could, so I was really excited about that."
Brad Keselowski, who qualified third, is pulling double duty and will drive in the Nationwide race today at Iowa Speedway in Newton. Larson also has a doubleheader with a ride in today's Truck race at Pocono.
ARCA: Justin Allison raced to his first series win, holding off Will Kimmel at Pocono. The grandson of former NASCAR driver Donnie Allison and grandnephew of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison said: "It's pretty cool to win here. The Allisons have a lot of history at this track. It definitely means a lot to get this first win here." … John Wes Townley will be held out of all racing this weekend following a hard crash during qualifying.
NHRA: John Force topped Funny Car qualifying after the first two sessions in the Northwest Nationals in Kent, Wash. Force, 65, had a run of 4.085 seconds at 308.07 mph. Tony Schumacher led the Top Fuel field, and Allen Johnson topped the Pro Stock division with two more runs coming today. Schumacher had a 3.804 at 318.32, and Johnson ran a 6.535 at 211.86.