For Martin Truex Jr., it was a win-win on Friday at Kansas Speedway.
Not only did Truex collect his 15th career Cup pole, his second at the track and his third pole of 2017, but he also earned the first pit stall selection for next weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway for finishing first in qualifying.
“We knew this was a big one tonight with next week’s pit selection,” Truex said. “Cole (Pearn, crew chief) made the right adjustments and we were able to go after it.
“This stuff is so difficult These teams work so hard. If you’re not going forward, you’re going backwards. Great job by my team.”
Kevin Harvick will start second followed by Ryan Blaney, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski and Austin Dillon.
Blaney left his stall first but moved aside and allowed Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth to attempt qualifying runs. Kenseth topped Hamlin (187.461mph) with a lap of 187.604mph. Kevin Harvick (187.682mph) and Kyle Busch (186.329mph) were next with just over two minutes to go.
“Stepped out at the end of (Turn) 3,” Harvick said after posting the top lap of 187.682mph. Busch was fourth 186.329mph.
With a minute remaining, Blaney was second behind Harvick, but Truex’s lap of 188.029mph earned the top spot.
“I had to lift in (Turn) 4,” said Bowyer, who was 10th (185.599mph).
NASCAR called time had expired as Keselowski and Dillon completed their laps.
Stewart-Haas Racing grabbed the top spot again with Kevin Harvick’s lap of 187.533mph.
Brad Keselowski posted the second-fastest lap followed by Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Daniel Suarez, Austin Dillon, Erik Jones, Clint Bowyer and Jamie McMurray.
Again, Blaney was first on the track in the Omnicraft Auto Parts Ford. He set the pace with a lap of 187.266mph. Kenseth was second (187.175mph) followed by Larson (185.880mph). The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas of Kyle Busch (186.864) and Denny Hamlin (186.509) posted the third and fourth quick times, respectively.
With seven minutes to go, Kahne posted a lap of 184.533mph. Truex vaulted to the top of the chart with a lap of 187.344mph. Jones lap was sixth-quick (186.220mph), McMurray seventh (186.085mph), Elliott ran 11th (185.765mph) and Kurt Busch was 12th (185.274mph).
Just before the five-minute mark, Kevin Harvick climbed to P1 — 187.533mph. Earnhardt’s lap was 14th-quick which he described as “terrible”. Keselowski bumped Truex to second with a run of 187.428mph. Suarez ran eighth (186.445mph).
Larson, who had dropped to 13th, made a second attempt with 90-seconds on the board but did not advance. Kurt Busch ran a second lap but didn’t improve. On Jimmie Johnson’s first attempt, he could only muster the 13th-fastest lap — 185.957mph. He knocked Larson to 14th.
“We dodged a bullet,” said McMurray, who was the last driver to transfer.
Elliott qualified 15th — the fourth driver bumped from the final round.
The Stewart-Haas Racing Fords of Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick claimed the top two positions in the first round of time trials of Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400.
Martin Truex Jr. was third followed by Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez, Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Michael McDowell, Kyle Larson, Kasey Kahne, Chris Buescher, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Paul Menard.
Ryan Blaney (185.548mph) was the first driver to post a time in qualifying — 29.10-seconds. Jeffrey Earnhardt was second (174.842mph) followed by Brett Moffitt, who bumped the No. 33 for second (177.183mph). Landon Cassill ran next and was second-quick (178.512mph).
Kevin Harvick cruised off of pit road followed by Corey LaJoie. Harvick’s lap of 185.637mph topped the chart, LaJoie was initially fifth-quick (177.183mph). Truex bumped the No. 4 Ford for the top spot with a speed of 185.944mph (29.041-sec). Kasey Kahne posted the fourth quickest lap but was immediately bumped by Matt Kenseth (P2, 185.816mph) and Kyle Larson (P5, 184.388mph)
Austin Dillon (183.730mph), Joey Logano (183.125mph) and Brad Keselowski (182.989mph) were eighth, ninth and 10th in the first seven minutes, but after Jones set the fifth-fastest lap (185.331mph), the three drivers dropped down the list Jamie McMurray’s first lap (185.752mph) was initially third-quick until he was knocked back by Dale Earnhardt Jr. (185.803mph). With just over six minutes to do, Denny Hamlin posted the second fastest lap (185.842mph).
At the six-minute mark, Kurt Busch shot to the top of the speed chart with a lap of 186.335mph. Suarez completed his first lap with five minutes to go. He was 10th-quick (185.242mph). Ryan Newman dropped to 11th followed by Bowyer, Johnson, Elliott, McDowell, Larson, Kahne, Buescher, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard, Austin Dillon, Aric Almirola and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., rounded out the top 24.
Danica Patrick vaulted to second (186.303mph) on the board with four minutes remaining on the clock. With one minute to go, Logano, Kahne, Kyle Busch, Ty Dillon, Austin Dillon, Stenhouse and Keselowski made second attempts.
“That’s all she’s got in it,” Stenhouse said after moving from 26th to 25th but failing to advance to Round 2. Stenhouse was the only playoff driver not in the top 24.
Watch Truex talk about winning the pole at Kansas:
|1||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||28.719||188.029|
|20||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||29.217||0.498||184.824|
|25||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||29.421||0.702||183.542|