Martin Truex Jr. wins Cup pole at Kentucky in bid to repeat

Martin Truex Jr. will have a chance to repeat his victory at Kentucky Speedway from the best position possible.

Truex, who won last year’s race at Kentucky Speedway, turned the fastest average lap speed (188.890 mph) in the final round of Friday’s qualifying to claim the pole for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400.

Truex’s fellow Toyota driver, Erik Jones, ended up second, Kevin Harvick was third, Brad Keselowski was fourth and Kyle Busch completed the top-five.

The pole is fourth this season for Truex and his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team and the 19th of his career.

Truex, who was fastest in Rounds 2 and 3, had spent the vast majority of Friday’s practices running race set-up and never got a solid qualifying run completed.

“We really had to guess quit a bet for the (qualifying) set-up for here,” Truex said. “The first round I was a little bit off – some of it was driver and some of it was car.

“We did what we always do, we put our heads together and came up with a plan and we stepped it up. It feels good. Starting up front is key, the first pit stall is good for here and hopefully we can back up what we did last year tomorrow night.”

Rounding out the top 12 starters were Paul Menard, Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Daniel Suarez and Aric Almirola.

Round 2

Truex rocketed to the top of the speed chart in the second round with an average lap speed of 188.976 mph – which ended up as the fastest lap recorded on the day.

Kyle Busch ended up second (188.403 mph) and Almirola was third (188.107 mph). Keselowski and Jones completed the top-five.

Also advancing to the final round were Newman, Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Harvick, Blaney, Menard and Suarez.

Newman was the only Chevrolet driver to secure a position in the final round.

Among those who failed to advance were Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, William Byron and Joey Logano.

“We unloaded pretty off today. At least we’re going in the right direction,” said Bowman, who will start 15th. “We need to keep getting better, we can’t get worse.

None of the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers advanced to the final round.

Round 1

Harvick led the way in the first round of qualifying with an average lap speed of 187.859 mph.

Jones was second-fastest (187.676 mph) and Austin Dillon was third (187.611 mph). Keselowski and Menard completed the top-five.

Among those who failed to advance to Round 2 were Darrell Wallace Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Ty Dillon.

“I think we have a really good car for the race. We just need to fine-tune for the long-run,” Dillon said.

Wallace had been fast in practice Friday afternoon. Johnson and his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team has struggled all day. Johnson was the only HMS car not to advance to Round 2.

The first 15-minute session began with several cars still needing to clear inspection, including J.J. Yeley, Elliott, Matt DiBenedetto, Denny Hamlin, Timmy Hill, Jesse Little and Alex Bowman.

Elliott made it out on the track with just over five minutes remaining in the session and ended up 16th-fastest.

Hamlin, Hill, Little and DiBenedetto did not make it out on the track and will all have to start the race from the rear of the field.

Cla#DriverManufacturerTimeGapMph
1 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 28.588   188.890
2 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 28.611 0.023 188.739
3 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 28.640 0.052 188.547
4 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 28.664 0.076 188.390
5 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 28.692 0.104 188.206
6 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 28.705 0.117 188.121
7 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 28.732 0.144 187.944
8 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 28.770 0.182 187.696
9 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 28.780 0.192 187.630
10 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 28.866 0.278 187.071
11 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 28.877 0.289 187.000
12 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 28.895 0.307 186.884
13 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 28.851 0.263 187.169
14 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 28.866 0.278 187.071
15 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 28.935 0.347 186.625
16 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 28.947 0.359 186.548
17 6 united_states Matt Kenseth  Ford 28.951 0.363 186.522
18 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 28.979 0.391 186.342
19 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 28.981 0.393 186.329
20 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 29.004 0.416 186.181
21 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 29.010 0.422 186.143
22 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 29.050 0.462 185.886
23 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 29.116 0.528 185.465
24 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 29.234 0.646 184.716
25 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 29.263 0.675 184.533
26 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 29.271 0.683 184.483
27 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 29.281 0.693 184.420
28 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 29.533 0.945 182.846
29 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 29.582 0.994 182.543
30 15 united_states Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 29.805 1.217 181.178
31 72 united_states Corey Lajoie  Chevrolet 29.936 1.348 180.385
32 23 united_states J.J. Yeley  Toyota 30.022 1.434 179.868
33 00 united_states Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 30.150 1.562 179.104
34 51 united_states B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 30.357 1.769 177.883
35 99 united_states Garrett Smithley  Chevrolet 30.649 2.061 176.188
36 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 0.000   0.000
37 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 0.000   0.000
38 07 united_states Jesse Little  Chevrolet 0.000   0.000
39 66 united_states Timmy Hill  Toyota 0.000   0.000

 

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Kentucky
Track Kentucky Speedway
Drivers Martin Truex Jr.
Teams Furniture Row Racing
Article type Qualifying report