During a qualifying session that incorporated a four-tire pit stop under the aegis of the Pit Crew Challenge, Joey Logano won the pole position for both Saturday evening‘s No. 1 Heat Race and the Sunday‘s $1-million-to win NASCAR All-Star Race (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Logano ran the required three laps, including the pit stop, in 89.754 seconds (75.206 mph), beating fellow Ford driver Brad Keselowski (74.884 mph) for the top starting spot by 0.386 seconds.

Logano is the only driver locked into a starting position for Sunday‘s All-Star Race. The rest of the field is scheduled to be set through Saturday‘s two heat races.

Logano‘s crew was fifth fastest on the pit stop. The winner of the Pit Crew Challenge—and first choice of pit stalls for the All-Star Race—was the over-the-wall gang on Christopher Bell‘s Toyota, posting a stop of 13.223 seconds, edging Keselowski‘s crew by 0.010 seconds.

The same crew won last year‘s Pit Crew Challenge with a different Joe Gibbs Racing driver—Ty Gibbs.

“This qualifying session is the most fun session of the year,” said Logano, the sixth of 17 drivers to attempt a run. “And it really takes the whole team, right? The car‘s got to go fast, we‘ve got to execute onto pit road well, the spotter‘s got to do a good job helping me get through my lights (indicating pit road speed) and being on the same page with me there.

“I‘ve got to be able to stop in the stall. The pit crew‘s got to do their part, and then back up onto the race track. So it really takes every crew member.”

Bell had the third fastest overall time (90.169 seconds), followed by Daniel Suárez (90.199 seconds).

Notably, Bell‘s crew was elated to do its part in the No. 20 Toyota‘s successful qualifying effort.

“I‘m blessed to be with a good group of guys,” said rear tire changer Mike Hicks. “I couldn‘t do this if I didn‘t have a good supporting cast. Those guys are the best on pit road, and we‘ve got a stud for a driver.”

“What can you say? This is two in a row for these guys, and they‘ve been awesome,” Bell added. “I‘m incredibly happy for them and honored to be their driver.

“I was able to stop on my marks. That‘s been a huge topic of conversation in our meetings, in making sure you get to the sign deep enough and get the tires locked up, so they can get on the lug while you‘re stopping.

“That‘s obviously a big part of it—and taking off as soon as that jack drops. And that was a hell of a lot of fun.”

Supersized hat memorializes the Petty family‘s 75 years in NASCAR racing

On Friday afternoon, in front of the main entrance to North Wilkesboro, Richard Petty and son Kyle Petty unveiled an oversized Petty hat to commemorate the accomplishments of the Petty family at the 0.625-mile short track.

The hat is an apt symbol. For years, Richard Petty has worn trademark hats made for him by Charlie 1 Horse. The much larger version, made of fiberglass on a concrete base, features embossed photos of Petty‘s exploits and serves as a tribute to the Petty family‘s 75-year history in the sport.

“I‘m going to get the big head,” Petty quipped when the hat was unveiled.

Petty raced at North Wilkesboro 66 times, winning 15 of his record 200 NASCAR Cup Series races there. In 1959 and 1960, Petty‘s father, Lee Petty, won three straight events at the vaunted short track.

Kyle Petty raced at North Wilkesboro 32 times, with a best finish of second (twice).

“The new fans out there don‘t know where NASCAR started,” Richard Petty said after the dedication. “This gives them a throwback deal when they see the hat… So it‘s good for us, the Petty family, and it‘s good for the fans. NASCAR hasn‘t always been mile-and-a-half race tracks. There used to be some dirt tracks and short tracks like this.

“We were here when it first started. We‘ve been through all the changes with the cars, different kinds of tracks, different rules—all that kind of stuff. We were here when it started. We were here when it was changing. We‘re here when it‘ll change again.”

Seat time at North Wilkesboro is invaluable to Kevin Harvick in new role

After Kevin Harvick retired from full-time NASCAR Cup Series racing, he never expected to get an opportunity to drive a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in preparation for the NASCAR All-Star Race.

But with Kyle Larson otherwise occupied with practice and qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, Harvick was asked to practice and qualify the No. 5 Camaro for Sunday‘s $1-million exhibition event at North Wilkesboro Speedway (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Harvick considers the seat time in the Gen 7 car essential to his new role as full-time analyst for FOX Sports. The 2014 NASCAR Cup champion took particular note of the option and prime tire choices available to teams for the All-Star Race.

“It‘s priceless,” Harvick said of the opportunity. “This sport evolves quickly. To be able to understand the tires, the scenario that goes with how long these tires will last, how fast they go, what the feeling is and what all the scenarios are… listening to someone else‘s team…

“I took my team (at Stewart-Haas Racing) for granted because we had been around for so long. To hear other people‘s thoughts and process and understand all those things to be able to relate to the fans, it‘s a pretty big deal to get a mid-year check of things that go with the evolution of our sport.

“It evolves quickly and can leave you behind quickly. To be still engrained in it and understand where everything‘s at is always good.”

— NASCAR Wire Service —

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