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NASCAR Cup: Martin Truex Jr. on pole at Kansas, Ryan Blaney’s time thrown out

On Oct. 20, 2017, Martin Truex Jr. wins the pole for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, scheduled for Oct. 22, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

On Oct. 20, 2017, Martin Truex Jr. wins the pole for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, scheduled for Oct. 22, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

By AMANDA VINCENT

Martin Truex Jr. already is secured a spot in the Round of Eight of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, courtesy of his win a couple weeks ago at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. On Friday he garnered his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team’s first pit selection for the first race of the third round at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Oct. 29, courtesy of his pole run Friday at Kansas Speedway near Kansas City for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400.

Next weekend’s schedule includes same-day qualifying and racing, so pit selection at Martinsville will be based on the Kansas Speedway qualifying results.

“It’s pretty big, the biggest one at this point in time, so that’s what matters; you know,” Truex said. “We race one week at a time and try to do the best we can. Obviously, we needed this; this was a big one tonight with next week’s pit selection, so just really proud of everybody. Great execution all day making right adjustments and right calls in qualifying,  there. Just had to step it up, there. I’m shaking a little bit after that one it was pretty wild.”

Truex turned in a 28.719-second/188.029 mph lap in the third and final round of qualifying at Kansas on Friday to claim his third pole of 2017 and the second of his career at Kansas Speedway. It was the only lap over 188 mph through the entire three-round session.

Kevin Harvick will line up on the front row next to Truex, running the second-fastest lap in the final round after posting a second-round-leading 28.795-second/187.533 mph lap.

“For the most part it was three sketchy laps,” Harvick said. “The first time out, it was really loose and tight on one end. It was really windy on one end. It was hard to keep up with the car, but I did a good job adapting to the first run. I got through one and two okay, and as I got into three, the front end washed out, and then, the back stepped out and got up a lane. Still, a good run considering what was on the line for pit stall selection.”

Harvick will be the only non-Toyota driver to start Sunday’s race in the top-seven. Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Daniel Suarez and Kyle Busch qualifying third through fifth and seventh, respectively. Truex’s Furniture Row Racing teammate, Erik Jones, was sixth.

Another Ford driver, Ryan Blany, advanced to round three and posted the third-fastest lap in the final round, but his car failed inspection, resulting in Blaney starting in the back for Sunday’s race.

“The rules are pushed to the max in every area, and today the NASCAR officials found something they didn’t like about our car,” Wood Brothers Racing co-owner Eddie Wood said. “We’re not disputing their decision. We’ll own it and move on.”

The move to the back, obviously, made Blaney the playoff driver starting the farthest back in the field, replacing Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for that honor. Stenhouse was the the slowest of the playoff drivers in the opening round, winding up 25th and failing to advance.

“We’ll work on our car in Saturday’s practice, line up in the back on Sunday and look forward to watching Ryan drive his way to the front,” Wood said.

CBlaney’s drop moved a third Chevrolet driver, Jimmie Johnson, into the top-12. Johnson started the race 12th, despite not making a run in the third round of qualifying. Chevrolet drivers Jamie McMurray and Austin Dillon were the only two Chevrolet drivers to make laps in the final round.

Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick posted the two fastest laps in the opening round, led by Busch’s 28.980-second/186.335 mph lap, but after running the fastest laps in round one, neither Busch nor Patrick managed to advance past round two. Busch wound up 16th and Patrick 23rd.

Here’s a look at the complete starting grid for the Hollywood 400 at Kansas Speedway:
Row 1 — Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota), Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Ford)
Row 2 — Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Toyota), Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota)
Row 3 — Daniel Suarez (No. 19 Toyota), Erik Jones (No. 77 Toyota)
Row 4 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet)
Row 5 — Clint Bowyer (No. 14 Ford), Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford)
Row 6 — Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet), Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)
Row 7 — Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet), Chase Elliott (No. 24 Chevrolet)
Row 8 — Kurt Busch (No. 41 Ford), Michael McDowell (No. 95 Chevrolet)
Row 9 — Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford), Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet)
Row 10 — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Chevrolet), Chris Buescher (No. 37 Chevrolet)
Row 11 — Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet), Danica Patrick (No. 10 Chevrolet)
Row 12 — Paul Menard (No. 27 Chevrolet), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford)
Row 13 — Aric Almirola (No. 43 Ford), A.J. Allmendinger (No 47 Chevrolet)
Row 14 — David Ragan (No. 38 Ford), Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford)
Row 15 — Ty Dillon (No. 13 Chevrolet), Matt DiBenedetto (No. 32 Ford)
Row 16 — Landon Cassill (No. 34 Ford), Brett Moffitt (No. 83 Toyota)
Row 17 — Gray Gaulding (No. 55 Toyota), Corey LaJoie (No. 23 Toyota)
Row 18 — Cole Whitt (No. 72 Chevrolet), B.J. McLeod (No. 51 Chevrolet)
Row 19 — Reed Sorenson (No. 15 Chevrolet), Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 33 Chevrolet)
Row 20 — Derrike Cope (No. 00 Chevrolet), Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Ford)

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer).

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Posted by on October 21, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,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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