NASCAR: Kyle Larson edges Joey Logano for Pocono pole

It’s not his first time starting out front, but it is Kyle Larson’s first Sprint Cup Series pole.

Larson’s track-record lap at 183.438 mph in the third and final round of Friday’s knockout qualifying session edged Joey Logano to take the top starting position in Sunday’s 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Larson started first in the April race at Richmond, Va., when the starting lineup was set by practice speeds after rain canceled qualifying.

“To get a pole here, my first ‘real’ pole feels great,” Larson said. “To come to the ‘Tricky Triangle’ like this, there is no other race track like it. It’s fun because you get to shift and hit your marks.

“It’s difficult, so I’m glad I could win the pole it feels great. Hopefully, we can get our first career win this weekend, too.”

Brad Keselowski will start third, Kurt Busch fourth and series points leader Jeff Gordon, who won last weekend’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will line up fifth.

Mark Martin returns to Roush Fenway Racing: Mark Martin’s competitive driving career in NASCAR may be over but not his influence.

Roush Fenway Racing announced this week the NASCAR veteran will return to the organization where he spent the vast majority of his career to become a driver development coach with drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Trevor Bayne, Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed.

“I’m excited to return to Roush Fenway Racing, as it feels like I’m going home to where I belong,” said Martin. “I was fortunate to help build this team from the beginning, and it’s very humbling to be a part of Jack’s team again.

“Roush Fenway has an abundance of young, talented drivers, and I’m looking forward to working with each of them going forward.”

Knaus feels sense of responsibility: Chad Knaus, crew chief for six-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, said he feels a sense of responsibility in contributing to Hendrick Motorsports’ decision to hire Greg Ives as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief beginning next season.

Before moving to JR Motorsports to become a crew chief in the Nationwide Series, Ives worked as team engineer under Knaus for Johnson’s No. 48 team.

“I can assure you I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that thing works and it does a good job. Greg is a good guy,” Knaus said. “He was a huge, impactful part of the No. 48 team for years.

“We wanted to see him grow. We knew what his desires were, so to have him come back here there is going to be a big portion of me trying to make sure that he gets everything that he needs.”

Ganassi to receive award: IndyCar and NASCAR team owner Chip Ganassi will receive the inaugural Cameron R. Argetsinger Award next week in Corning, N.Y., for his outstanding contributions to motorsports. The award is named for Argetsinger, considered the “Father of American road racing.”

Townley airlifted to hospital: John Wes Townley, who was planning to run in both the Truck and ARCA series races this weekend at Pocono, was airlifted to a local hospital Friday afternoon following a wreck in ARCA qualifying. Townley later returned to the track but planned to sit out both races.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer