Martin Truex Jr. once again saved his best for last in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying, picking up his second straight pole.
This time around it came at Auto Club Speedway, the first time in his career Truex has been the fastest at the two-mile oval. Truex ran a lap at 186.567mph while Toyota teammate Kyle Busch will start second after clocking in at 186.437mph.
It is the 17th pole of Truex’s career.
“First time ever, that’s definitely pretty cool,” Truex said of his two consecutive poles. “Just proud of everybody, this 5-hour / Bass Pro Toyota has been awesome all day long. We tried to stay on scuffs that first practice and ran our best lap on scuffs this morning, so thought that played into our hands here in qualifying. Round 2 I got the seam a little bit and lost some time and that bit me but luckily third round was able to put a lap together.
“Would say it was perfect but it was a pretty solid lap, and just happy with everybody on the team.”
Completing the top five were Kyle Larson (186.128mph), Erik Jones (186.047mph) and Austin Dillon (185.711mph). Larson is the defending race winner.
The rest of the top 10 were Joey Logano (185.577mph), Kurt Busch (185.185mph), Ryan Blaney (185.076mph), Ryan Newman (184.848mph) and Kevin Harvick (184.436mph), who was fastest in the first two rounds of qualifying and goes into Sunday’s race looking for a fourth straight victory.
In the first round of qualifying, only 24 of the 37 cars entered made a qualifying lap. The 13 who did not were unable to get through qualifying, which included all four Hendrick cars, Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer from Stewart-Haas Racing as well as Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Daniel Suarez.
Those who did not complete a qualifying lap will start at the rear of the field. Hamlin will be the highest starting of those drivers in 25th position.
“The first time through there was a lot of failures at all of the stations; it was basically kind of split between chassis, weight and measures and the body scan,” said NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller.
“The second time through it seems like most of it has been centered around the actual body scan itself, which honestly this is the most aerodynamic track that we’ve gone to, so kind of no surprise they would be pushing the limits here more than some of the other places on that.”
NEXT UP: Practice at 12:35 p.m. ET Saturday.