Truex claims pole in Kentucky

Image by Thacker/LAT

Truex claims pole in Kentucky


Truex claims pole in Kentucky


Martin Truex Jr. will attempt to defend last year’s Kentucky Speedway victory from the pole on Saturday night.

Truex was fastest in both the second and third rounds of qualifying to earn his fourth pole of the season. His pole-winning lap was 188.890mph. The pole is the first for Truex at Kentucky, and the 19th of his career.

“We did race trim the whole time [in practice] and honestly our qualifying run, we only got one there at the end of practice, and it wasn’t very good,” said Truex.

“We had traffic and I just completely under-drove the car, so we really had to guess quite a bit on the setup for here. The first round, I was a little bit off, and then some of it was driver, and some of it was car and we just – like we always do – we put our heads together and came up with a plan, and we stepped it up, so feels good and thanks to everybody at Toyota and TRD.

“Starting up front is key, so first pit stall will be good for here, and hopefully we can back up what we did last year tomorrow night. It’s going to be tough, but it’s going to be fun.”

A year ago, Truex dominated at Kentucky by winning all three stages and leading 152 of 274 laps en route to the win.

Joining Truex on the front row will be Toyota teammate Erik Jones, who is carrying momentum into Kentucky after his first career win last weekend. Jones clocked in 188.739 mph.

Completing the top five were Kevin Harvick (188.547mph), Brad Keselowski (188.390mph) and Kyle Busch (188.206mph). Harvick was fastest in the first round of the qualifying session.

Rounding out the top 10 were Paul Menard (188.121mph), Ryan Blaney (187.944mph), Clint Bowyer (187.696mph), Kurt Busch (187.630mph), and Ryan Newman (187.071mph).

Other notables lined up in the field: Aric Almirola 12th, Chase Elliott 16th, Matt Kenseth 17th, Kyle Larson 18th, and Jimmie Johnson 27th.

Four drivers did not get through inspection in time to make a qualifying lap. Denny Hamlin, Matt DiBenedetto, Jesse Little (making his Cup Series debut) and Timmy Hill will start at the rear of the field.

UP NEXT: Quaker State 400 at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday.