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NASCAR Cup: Martin Truex Jr. claims fourth pole of 2018 at Kentucky

SPARTA, KY – JULY 13: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota, poses with the Busch Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart at Kentucky Speedway on July 13, 2018 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Martin Truex Jr. claimed his fourth pole of 2018, 19 races into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, Friday evening when he turned in a 28.588-second/188.890 lap in the third of three rounds of qualifying at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400. It’s his first-career pole at Kentucky.

“Turn three, man, that sucker will get you. It’s – to go faster, you’ve got to put it on the edge and it’s – I’m talking a half of a mile an hour going into three from over-rolling the speed and just missing the bottom, so it’s a treacherous corner, but it’s a lot of fun when you get it right, and the guys did an awesome job today on this Auto-Owners Toyota and just thanks to everybody back in Michigan at Auto-Owners for their support, and hopefully, we give them a heck of a run tomorrow night,” Truex said.

Toyota swept the front row in qualifying, with last weekend’s race winner at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Erik Jones, qualifying session.

“It was a good effort for us, for sure. Good pickup from the second round to the third round, but our Freightliner Camry probably had it in it,” Jones said. “I missed [turns] three and four a little bit, unfortunately, and we just missed out there, but I think Martin did the same. He just got through there a tick better than me, so it is what it is. Second’s still a good starting spot here. Track position is going to be pretty important, and hopefully, we can just keep it up there all night and go for two in a row. It’s been a good start for us. We’ll keep the Freightliner Camry rolling.”

Toyota and Ford dominated the top-12 territory of the starting grid that was set by the final round of qualifying. Ryan Blaney was the only Chevrolet driver to advance to round three. He qualified 10th.

Meanwhile, all four Stewart-Haas Racing Ford drivers got to the final round, led by Kevin Harvick, who qualified third to share row two with fellow-Ford driver Brad Keselowski. Harvick opened qualifying with the fastest lap in the opening round — a lap that clocked in at 28.745 seconds/187.859 mph.

Truex’s 28.575-second/188.976 mph lap in the second round was the fastest lap, overall, of the three-round session.

Four drivers — Denny Hamlin, Matt DiBenedetto, Jesse Little and Timmy Hill — failed to make qualifying attempts, and as a result, will start in the final four positions on Saturday night.

Below, is the complete starting grid for the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway:
Row 1 — Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota), Erik Jones (No. 20 Toyota)
Row 2 — Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Ford), Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford)
Row 3 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Paul Menard (No. 21 Ford)
Row 4 — Ryan Blaney (No. 12 Ford), Clint Bowyer (No. 14 Ford)
Row 5 — Kurt Busch (No. 41 Ford), Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet)
Row 6 — Daniel Suarez (No. 19 Toyota), Aric Almirola (No. 10 Ford)
Row 7 — Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 8 — Alex Bowman (No. 88 Chevrolet), Chase Elliott (No. 9 Chevrolet)
Row 9 — Matt Kenseth (No. 6 Ford), Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet)
Row 10 — Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford), Chris Buescher (No. 37 Chevrolet)
Row 11 — William Byron (No. 24 Chevrolet), Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet)
Row 12 — Michael McDowell (No. 34 Ford), David Ragan (No. 38 Ford)
Row 13 — Darrell Wallace Jr. (No. 43 Chevrolet), A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet)
Row 14 — Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet), Ty Dillon (No. 13 Chevrolet)
Row 15 — Kasey Kahne (No. 95 Chevrolet), Ross Chastain (No. 15 Chevrolet)
Row 16 — Corey LaJoie (No. 72 Chevrolet), J.J. Yeley (No. 23 Toyota)
Row 17 — Landon Casill (No. 00 Chevrolet), B.J. McLeod (No. 51 Chevrolet)
Row 18 — Garrett Smithley (No. 99 Chevrolet), Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota)
Row 19 — Matt DiBenedetto (No. 32 Ford), Jesse Little (No. 7 Chevrolet)
Row 20 — Timmy Hill (No. 66 Toyota)

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Posted by on July 14, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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