HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Joey Logano is leaving Joe Gibbs Racing after Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but he was hardly a lame duck during pole qualifying.
Logano stole a little of the spotlight from the battle between Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson in the Chase for the Championship by running 176.056 mph on the 1.5- mile oval. He was the last driver to go out and he easily knocked Marcos Ambrose off the pole.
“We were real good in practice and we made the right adjustments for qualifying,” Logano said. “They did their part; I did my part.”
Ambrose said he knows a lot of the attention will go to Keselowski and Johnson. But that won’t change his approach to Sunday’s race (3 p.m., ESPN).
“I wish them all the best, but that’s where the love stops,” Ambrose said. “I’m certainly not a charity for Jimmie Johnson, or for Brad. I want to win the race.”
Logano will move away from the No. 20 Toyota to the No. 22 Ford at Penske Racing next year, replacing Sam Hornish Jr.
Keselowski was third at 175.092 mph. He has a 20-point lead over Johnson and can clinch car owner Roger Penske’s first Sprint Cup Series championship on Sunday by finishing no worse than 15th.
“We know qualifying is not our strong suit,” Keselowski said. “We’re trying to do the best we can with some of our weaknesses. I think the car is pretty good, but we can always do better.
“I had no expectation for that kind of lap.”
Johnson qualified 10th at 174.081.
“I’m happy with the lap, but you always want more,” he said.
GORDON’S RESPONSE: When Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon made contact in the closing laps at Phoenix, Gordon was overcome by a grudge he’d been carrying at least seven months.
The four-time NASCAR champion retaliated by intentionally wrecking Bowyer, triggering a garage-area melee.
Gordon’s reputation took a hit among his peers and he was fined $100,000 by NASCAR. But he avoided suspension and will race Sunday in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
He admitted Friday that DuPont had initial concerns NASCAR would park him this weekend for his actions, and he’s not sorry for wrecking Bowyer.
“The thing that I regret and the thing that I messed up on is that I allowed my anger and my emotions to put me in a position to make a bad choice,” Gordon said. “I felt like Clint needed to be dealt with, but that wasn’t the right way to go about it, certainly not the right time. And what I hate most about it is that other guys were involved with it and it affected their day.”