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Qualifying report
NASCAR Cup Martinsville II

Truex earns Martinsville Cup pole for critical playoff race

After a difficult start to the NASCAR Cup playoffs, Martin Truex Jr. is showing up when it matters most – on pole.

For the second consecutive week, Truex beat all his competition and won the pole for a playoff race and will lead an all-Joe Gibbs Racing front row Sunday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

Truex, the last to make a qualifying attempt in the final round of Saturday’s session, posted an average lap speed of 94.153 mph, just edging teammate Ty Gibbs (94.115 mph).

The pole – his third of the season and 23rd of his career – couldn’t have come at a better time.

He enters the final race of the semifinal round of the playoffs, 17 points behind the cutoff line which would allow him to advance to the Championship 4. A win would automatically put him in next week’s title race at Phoenix.

“I mean, it’s definitely a big deal, obviously,” Truex said. “The first pit stall here is huge. We have a couple new guys on our pit crew for tomorrow and looking forward to seeing what they can do and I’m sure they’re excited to have that No. 1 stall.

“All in all, a good day. This car is feeling pretty good. It’s fast. We just got to get it better on the long run for tomorrow.”

Chase Briscoe will start third (94.106 mph), JGR driver Denny Hamlin fourth and playoff driver Kyle Larson fifth.

Completing the top-10 starting lineup are Bubba Wallace, Christopher Bell, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Preece and Brad Keselowski.

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Round 1 / Group A

Gibbs edged his JGR Hamlin to lead Group A with an average lap speed of 94.581 mph.

Hamlin was second fastest at 94.425 mph while Keselowski was third (93.673 mph).

Also advancing to the final round of qualifying from Group A were Wallace and Harvick.

Among those who failed to advance were three playoff drivers – William Byron, Chris Buescher and Tyler Reddick.

Reddick was eighth fastest when he completed the first of his two laps but spun out off Turn 4 on his second lap. Fortunately, he did not make any contact with his No. 45 Toyota.

“We were really loose in practice to start,” Reddick said. “I think we just over-adjusted.”

Cla Driver # Manufacturer Laps Time Interval Mph
1
T. GIBBSJoe Gibbs Racing
54 Toyota 2

20.021

  94.581
2 United StatesD. HAMLINJoe Gibbs Racing 11 Toyota 2

+0.033

20.054

0.033 94.425
3 United StatesB. KESELOWSKIRFK Racing 6 Ford 2

+0.194

20.215

0.161 93.673
4 United StatesB. WALLACE23XI Racing 23 Toyota 2

+0.213

20.234

0.019 93.585
5 United StatesK. HARVICKStewart-Haas Racing 4 Ford 2

+0.219

20.240

0.006 93.557
6 United StatesW. BYRONHendrick Motorsports 24 Chevrolet 2

+0.240

20.261

0.021 93.460
7 United StatesT. GILLILANDFront Row Motorsports 38 Ford 2

+0.249

20.270

0.009 93.419
8 United StatesC. BUESCHERRFK Racing 17 Ford 2

+0.253

20.274

0.004 93.400
9 United StatesT. REDDICK23XI Racing 45 Toyota 2

+0.266

20.287

0.013 93.341
10 United StatesR. STENHOUSE JRJTG Daugherty Racing 47 Chevrolet 2

+0.287

20.308

0.021 93.244
11 United StatesA. CINDRICTeam Penske 2 Ford 2

+0.289

20.310

0.002 93.235
12 MexicoD. SUAREZTrackHouse Racing 99 Chevrolet 2

+0.369

20.390

0.080 92.869
13 United StatesE. JONESLegacy Motor Club 43 Chevrolet 2

+0.403

20.424

0.034 92.714
14 United StatesC. LAJOIESpire Motorsports 7 Chevrolet 2

+0.422

20.443

0.019 92.628
15 United StatesK. BUSCHRichard Childress Racing 8 Chevrolet 2

+0.424

20.445

0.002 92.619
16 United StatesR. NEWMANRick Ware Racing 51 Ford 2

+0.530

20.551

0.106 92.142
17 United StatesJ. YELEYRick Ware Racing 15 Ford 2

+0.618

20.639

0.088 91.749
18 United StatesB. MCLEODLive Fast Motorsports 78 Chevrolet 2

+0.638

20.659

0.020 91.660

Round 1 / Group B

Truex led the way in Group B with an average lap speed of 94.595 mph.

Larson, who is already locked in the Championship 4, ended up second fastest (94.519 mph) while Briscoe was third (94.303 mph).

Also advancing to the final round from Group B were Custer and Bell.

Among those who failed to advance were Ross Chastain, Chase Elliott, playoff driver Ryan Blaney and A.J. Allmendinger, who briefly hit the wall during his qualifying attempt.

Cla Driver # Manufacturer Laps Time Interval Mph
1 United StatesM. TRUEX JRJoe Gibbs Racing 19 Toyota 2

20.018

  94.595
2 United StatesK. LARSONHendrick Motorsports 5 Chevrolet 1

+0.016

20.034

0.016 94.519
3 United StatesC. BRISCOEStewart-Haas Racing 14 Ford 2

+0.062

20.080

0.046 94.303
4 United StatesR. PREECEStewart-Haas Racing 41 Ford 2

+0.084

20.102

0.022 94.200
5 United StatesC. BELLJoe Gibbs Racing 20 Toyota 2

+0.138

20.156

0.054 93.947
6 United StatesR. BLANEYTeam Penske 12 Ford 2

+0.154

20.172

0.016 93.873
7 United StatesA. ALMIROLAStewart-Haas Racing 10 Ford 2

+0.164

20.182

0.010 93.826
8 United StatesR. CHASTAINTrackHouse Racing 1 Chevrolet 2

+0.167

20.185

0.003 93.812
9 United StatesC. ELLIOTTHendrick Motorsports 9 Chevrolet 2

+0.175

20.193

0.008 93.775
10 United StatesJ. LOGANOTeam Penske 22 Ford 2

+0.193

20.211

0.018 93.692
11 United StatesA. BOWMANHendrick Motorsports 48 Chevrolet 2

+0.299

20.317

0.106 93.203
12 United StatesM. MCDOWELLFront Row Motorsports 34 Ford 2

+0.311

20.329

0.012 93.148
13 United StatesJ. HALEYKaulig Racing 31 Chevrolet 2

+0.314

20.332

0.003 93.134
14 United StatesA. ALLMENDINGERKaulig Racing 16 Chevrolet 1

+0.355

20.373

0.041 92.947
15 United StatesA. DILLONRichard Childress Racing 3 Chevrolet 2

+0.369

20.387

0.014 92.883
16 United StatesH. BURTONWood Brothers Racing 21 Ford 2

+0.381

20.399

0.012 92.828
17
C. HOCEVARLegacy Motor Club
42 Chevrolet 2

+0.522

20.540

0.141 92.191
18 United StatesT. DILLONSpire Motorsports 77 Chevrolet 2

+0.539

20.557

0.017 92.115

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