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NASCAR Cup: Martin Truex Jr. on pole at ISM Raceway

CHARLOTTE, NC – JANUARY 24: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. poses for a photo during the NASCAR Media Tour at Charlotte Convention Center on January 23, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


Martin Truex Jr. claimed the pole starting spot for Sunday’s Ticket Guardian 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at ISM Raceway near Phoenix with a 26.288-second/136.945 mph lap in the third of three rounds of qualifying on Friday. It was his 16th-career pole, but his first of the season and first of his career at ISM Raceway.

“It was a good run,” Truex said. “We worked really hard coming here, knowing what we’ve done here in the past. We’ve run well, but we never could quite get it just right to go for the pole. I think we were fifth here last fall. We had a good game plan coming here, and I had to adjust my driving a little bit and, then, adjusted the way they set the car up, and it all played into our hands. Just really proud of everybody on the 5-hour Energy/Bass Pro Toyota and definitely a good starting spot.”

Truex will share the front row with Kyle Larson on Sunday. He’ll be the only non-Chevrolet driver in the first two rows, as Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman will line up in row two.

“I thought between rounds it maybe just got a little more grip,” Larson said. “Nothing crazy. It was definitely different when we qualify later in the day. It seems like from practice to qualifying in the past, you go a little bit faster. But today, it was hotter outside and it was a little slicker, there, in that first round. But our Credit One Bank Chevy has been really good here the last few years, and actually, I’m a little disappointed in second, because I always qualify good here. I think I’ve been, like, in the top-eight every single time I’ve qualified at Phoenix and still don’t have a pole, yet. I thought today was going to be the day. I thought my first lap was okay, but Martin, obviously, their team hit it there for that final round. Sunday’s race will be fun. Like I said, we’ve been fast here the last few years, so it would be nice to close out the weekend with a win.”

Although Truex’s pole-winning lap in the final round was the fastest, overall, of the three-round session, the reigning Cup Series champion failed to crack the top-five on the speed chart in the first two rounds of Friday’s qualifying session. Jimmie Johnson was fastest in the first round with a 26.544-second/135.624 lap, and Larson was tops in the second round with a 26.400-second/136.364 mph lap.

After being fastest in the opening round, Johnson slowed in round two, and as a result, failed to advance to the third round. He wound up 17th.

Already in a backup car after a brake failure led to contact with the wall in the day’s only practice session, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. got into the wall, again, in the first round of qualifying. He managed to post a lap time, though, clocking in at 29th.

Jeffrey Earnhardt will bring up the rear Sunday after failing to make a timed lap in qualifying Friday.

Below, is the complete starting grid for Sunday’s Ticket Guardian 500 at ISM Racewawy:

Row 1 — Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Toyota), Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chevrolet)
Row 2 — Chase Elliott (No. 9 Chevrolet), Alex Bowman (No. 88 Chevrolet)
Row 3 — Joey Logano (No. 22 Ford), Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota)
Row 4 — Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevrolet)
Row 5 — Erik Jones (No. 20 Toyota), Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Ford)
Row 6 — William Byron (No. 24 Chevrolet), Ryan Blaney (No. 12 Ford)
Row 7 — Ryan Newman (No. 31 Chevrolet), Paul Menard (No. 21 Chevrolet)
Row 8 — Daniel Suarez (No. 19 Toyota), David Ragan (No. 38 Ford)
Row 9 — Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet), Austin Dillon (No. 3 Chevrolet)
Row 10 — Clint Bowyer (No. 14 Ford), A.J. Allmendinger (No. 47 Chevrolet)
Row 11 — Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Ford), Aric Almirola (No. 10 Ford)
Row 12 — Kurt Busch (No. 41 Ford), Chris Buescher (No. 37 Chevrolet)
Row 13 — Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Ford), Kasey Kahne (No. 95 Chevrolet)
Row 14 — Darrell Wallace Jr. (No. 43 Chevrolet), Ty Dillon (No. 13 Chevrolet)
Row 15 — Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 17 Ford), Matt DiBenedetto (No. 32 Ford)
Row 16 — Michael McDowell (No. 34 Ford), Gray Gaulding (No. 23 Toyota)
Row 17 — Corey LaJoie (No. 72 Chevrolet), D.J. Kennington (No. 96 Toyota)
Row 18 — Timmy Hill (No. 51 Chevrolet), Ross Chastain (No. 15 Chevrolet)
Row 19 — Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 00 Chevrolet)

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Posted by on March 10, 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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