NASCAR’s timing system only goes to three decimal places, so it’s very possible for two drivers to run the exact same qualifying speeds and times. Today, this happened to second and third place qualifiers Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. So why does Logano get to start from the front row if they both tied?
Logano and Truex Jr. both ran a best-lap qualifying speed of 193.306 mph at Texas Motor Speedway in the third and final round. Both flying laps worked out to a lap time of 27.935 seconds. Truex qualified in one lap for the final round of qualifying, but Logano went back out to try and get ahead of eventual pole-sitter Carl Edwards, logging three laps total.
How many laps you log doesn’t matter when it comes to a tiebreaker, though. That tie is broken via the team owners’ championship points for the season, per rule 126.96.36.199.c. The team with more series owner championship points—in this case, Logano’s Team Penske—wins the higher spot in a tie. Thus, Logano qualified second, and Truex Jr. in third. This gives Logano his first front-row start ever at Texas.
Carl Edwards posted a flying lap of 194.609 mph, with a time of 27.748 seconds for pole position. This is Edwards’ seventeenth career pole position and second pole at Texas Motor Speedway.
Both drivers said that they’re forced to get out of the gas pedal more this year, which means that they need to be a bit more careful about when they lift off and get back on the power to execute that one not-perfect-but-more-perfect-than-the-other-drivers lap.
Edwards applauded NASCAR’s decision to take away downforce and make things harder to drive. “It was so easy to make mistakes,” Edwards mentioned, after mentioning that even his quick qualifying lap had several little goofs that he could’ve done better.
As for whether he was concerned when Logano went back out to attempt to get a faster qualifying lap, Edwards said, “Yes, he had me nervous!”
Tomorrow’s race also takes place at the end of the day, around sunset.
“I don’t know what to expect,” Edwards said. “I expect that this track will be extremely temperature-sensitive.”
As temperatures cool off, grip levels will change and those sliding cars should be a riot.