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Joey Logano captures pole for All-Star race after qualifying first at North Wilkesboro Speedway

NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. (AP) — Joey Logano has won 30 poles in his Cup Series career.

This one meant something extra to him.

Logano will start up front for the NASCAR All-Star race after turning a lap of 1:29.75 on Saturday during qualifying at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

The two 60-laps heats that were to determine the remainder of the field for Sunday night’s race were postponed Saturday after heavy rains pounded the area, leaving portions of the track under about a foot of water. NASCAR is determining how the remainder of the field for the All-Star race will be set, so Kyle Larson’s starting position remains unclear.

The weather was so severe that it brought down power lines on the road outside of the racetrack, cutting off power and internet access to the track.

The Trucks Series race was postponed until 11:45 a.m. Sunday.

Earlier in the day, Logano was all smiles after winning his first All-Star race pole.

“It’s a very special pole, maybe the most special pole I’ve ever had because it’s a great example of how hard everybody works and I’m proud of that,” Logano said. “It’s a lot of work that goes into the minute-and-a-half out there.”

William Byron, one of the final drivers on the track, appeared to beat Logano’s time, but was assessed a 10-second penalty for speeding on pit road during the stop.

Logano, driver of the No. 22 Ford, turned the top lap even on the .625 short track though his pit crew only had the fifth-fastest stop, which means he made up significant time on the track.

But Logano called it a team win and a “momentum booster.”

“This qualifying session is the most fun session of the year,” Logano said. “And it really takes the whole team. The car has to go fast. We have to execute getting onto pit road, the spotter has to do a good job of getting everyone on the same page and the pit crew has to do their part, and then it’s back on to the track (to finish). So it really takes every crew member.”

Christopher Bell’s team won the pit crew challenge for the second straight year and the No. 20 Toyota team will have its choice of the top pit stall for the $1 million race on Sunday night.

Bell’s pit crew earned $100,000 for winning the pit crew challenge.

“What can you say about these guys, it’s two in a row,” Bell said as his crew celebrated around him. “They have been awesome and I’m incredibly happy for them. It’s an honor to be their driver.”

Twenty drivers will participate in the All-Star race, 17 of which have already earned their way in through past accomplishments. The top two finishers from Sunday’s preliminary Open race and the winner of the fan vote will also advance into the All-Star Race.

As part of the pit crew challenge, drivers took the green flag, ran one full lap at speed, and on the second lap proceeded to one of two NASCAR designated pit stalls for a four-tire stop with mock fuel delivery. Then the cars exited pit road and raced back to the checkered flag. The qualifying time was determined by the total elapsed time from green flag to checkered flag.

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