Martin Truex Jr. Claims the Sprint Cup Pole at Charlotte

by Tucker White On Thu, May. 26, 2016

Photo Credit: Noel Lanier

CONCORD, N.C. — Martin Truex Jr. will lead the field to the green flag on Sunday in the Queen City.

The driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota scored the pole for Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a time of 28.077 and a speed of 192.328 mph. It’s his ninth career pole and second of 2016.

Truex spoke about his qualifying effort saying, “I just focused on what I thought we needed to do better, focused on trying to give the right information to my crew chief and my engineer and then it’s ultimately up to them to make the final decision what we do to the race car. That’s really what we focused on. I don’t think we ever put odds on our chances or anything like that, it’s just a constant battle of trying to figure out how we can be better. At Kansas, we got the pole a few weeks ago there and I guess really didn’t see it coming there either, but you never know. We went from 12th the first round to first in the third round so you never know what people are doing, what they’re working on, how good their car is, how bad it is so you just have to continue to work and try to get better every time you go on the race track.”

Joey Logano will start second in his No. 22 Team Penske Ford after posting a time of 28.124 and a speed of 192.007 mph.

“We never say die, that’s for sure,” Logano said post-qualifying. “We keep pushing to the end. That’s what I love about my team. It’s like, ‘We’re second. We’re gonna go again.’ It’s sometimes a last-ditch effort. Most of the times it never works, but we try hard and that makes us feel better so we keep pushing at it. Overall, the Shell/Pennzoil Ford was really fast. We showed that with winning the first two rounds, but we just didn’t win the most important one at the end. A front row starting spot is nice for a 600-mile race. We can get a good pit stall because we’re gonna be in the pits a lot. I’m excited about the speed we have in the car. It’s continued from week to week from the All-Star Race, so we’ll see what we’ve got.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will begin the race from third place in his No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford after posting a time of 28.209 191.428 mph.

“Being in the top four in every session there was really big for us,” Stenhouse said. “We’ve been fast at times in qualifying, but never put every round together and stayed that consistent, so I’m really proud of the team for the adjustments that they made throughout the qualifying session there. We just missed it a little bit, but we know where to go work on it to get it better. Now our job is to get it better on Saturday for a long 600 miles and make sure that we’ve got some adjustability in it.”

Denny Hamlin, who has finished in the final 12 in each qualifying session this season, will start fourth in his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota after posting a time of 28.215 and a speed of 191.388 mph.

“I think in qualifying we’ve really been pretty good this year,” he said, “and that’s been kind of par for us. We really plan to concentrate on Saturday and getting our car good on the long run, that’s really where we’ve been struggling most of the season. We’ve got a new setup idea and we’ll see if it works and really excited to get to Saturday, I want to get to practice and see what they’ve come up with.”

Hamlin went on to add that, “Obviously we have a great average start this year. If I could switch the average start with the average finish, I’d do it.”

Brad Keselowski will round out the top-five starters after posting a time of 28.277 and a speed of 190.968 mph followed by Greg Biffle in sixth in his No. 16 RFR Ford.

Jimmie Johnson will start seventh in his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

“I had a great (Turns) 1 and 2 and got extremely greedy in the short conversation I had with myself on the backstretch and blew Turns 3 and 4. This one is on me. To make a big mistake like that and still end up P7, we’ll take it. It’s a very exciting weekend. It’s great to be racing at home and to have this beautiful race car. Something that’s really cool is that Lowe’s is giving 10 percent off to all the men and women that serve our country,” Johnson said.

Kevin Harvick will start eighth in his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, defending race winner Carl Edwards will start ninth in his No. 19 JGR Toyota and Trevor Bayne will round out the top-10 starters in his No. 6 RFR Ford.

“We just guessed that the pace would pick up like it has every year that I’ve ever been here,” Harvick said after qualifying. “So, I think we were just off on our travels and just kind of had to deal with what we had; slip-sliding around a little bit more than we expected and the speeds being slower. So, we just missed it a little bit.”

Today was the first time all three of the Roush Fords made the final round of qualifying since Texas in November of 2014.

Paul Menard will start 11th in his No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet while Chase Elliott rounds out the 12 drivers that made the final round of qualifying in his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

“I thought it was a good effort, obviously, hate to make the last round and be last in the last round. We kind of threw a Hail Mary at it there at the end to try to help our car to drive better from that last round to make it as close to perfect as we could get it. It just didn’t work out,” Elliott said.

With 40 cars entered, nobody failed to qualify.

The field will consist of 22 Chevrolet’s, 11 Ford’s and seven Toyota’s.

Complete Starting Lineup

 

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