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Logano relieved, still rising

Joey Logano earns the pole for today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway.

Associated Press

Joey Logano earns the pole for today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway.

LONG POND, Pa. — Joey Logano heard the rumors.

Carl Edwards, the biggest free agent in NASCAR, was being pursued to sign a lucrative deal at Joe Gibbs Racing. And if Edwards signed, he'd poach Logano's ride in the No. 20 Toyota and the coveted Home Depot sponsorship.

Logano couldn't do anything about the negotiations. All he could do was drive.

Edwards stayed with Roush Fenway Racing, and Logano appears secure in his car.

Pushed by the public contract talks, Logano responded with his best finishes of the season and kept rolling at Pocono Raceway, turning a lap of 172.055 mph Saturday to win his second pole of the year. The 21-year-old driver became the youngest pole winner at Pocono. It was his third career pole in Sprint Cup.

Logano said he never talked to owner Joe Gibbs or team president J.D. Gibbs about his future at JGR, one of the top organizations in NASCAR.

"As far as I knew they, were just rumors," Logano said. "What am I really going to ask him?

Logano was once the hottest prospect in the sport, but has had mostly mixed reviews in his still-blossoming career. He opened this season 23rd in the Daytona 500 and an engine failure the next week at Phoenix dropped Logano to 29th in the points standings. He rallied for top-six finishes in three of four races entering last week's race at Indianapolis. He finished 25th and is 19th in points.

"There's been a lot of rumors around our team lately, but, at the same time, I don't know if everyone realizes how good we've been lately," Logano said.

Kasey Kahne joins him on the front row for today's Good Sam 500. Brad Keselowski, driving with a broken left foot, starts 13th.

Logano hopes the momentum from the past month can carry into today and help him earn a needed victory — his lone win as a rookie in 2009 at New Hampshire.

As for his status, he said he couldn't escape the speculation because the Edwards story was splashed on every racing website, newspaper and highlight show ticker.

"How do you not think about it because it's right there in front of you," he said.

But now his future is clear and when today's race starts, the only thing in front of him will be open air.

>>Fast facts

Sprint Cup points

Through 20 of 36 races. The top 10 plus two wild cards (based on wins) through 26 races make the Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts. Back

Carl Edwards 682—

J. Johnson 671 11

Kevin Harvick 670 12

Kyle Busch 666 16

Matt Kenseth 666 16

Kurt Busch 664 18

Jeff Gordon 630 52

Ryan Newman 618 64

Tony Stewart 609 73

D. Earnhardt Jr. 606 76

Denny Hamlin* 587 95

Clint Bowyer 574 108

Greg Biffle 560 122

Paul Menard* 553 129

Kasey Kahne 551 131

David Ragan 546 136

* Wild cards if Chase field were set today.

Today's race

Good Sam 500, 1 p.m., Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pa. TV: ESPN

Logano relieved, still rising 08/06/11 [Last modified: Saturday, August 6, 2011 11:04pm]
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