Martin Truex, Jr. Wins Pole For Coca Cola 600

Martin Truex, Jr.
Mike Mercurio/AR1

Martin Truex, Jr, scored his first-career Charlotte Motor Speedway pole after topping Thursday night's qualifying session for Sunday's 57th running of the Coca Cola 600.

Truex, Jr rocketed to the top spot with a lap of 192.328 mph (28.077 seconds) to knock Joey Logano from the top spot in the final round of knockout qualifying to secure his second pole of the season and ninth of his Sprint Cup career.

Logano held off Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. to take second. Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five qualifiers.

Truex, Jr. is still searching for his first win of the season – the lone driver running Joe Gibbs Racing chassis without a win so far – and has yet to score another top five finish since coming home second in the season-opening race at Daytona.

Truex, Jr. led a race-high 131 laps in last year's Coca-Cola, but the pit stops didn't fall his way and he ended up fifth after giving up the lead to pit for fuel.

"I liked what I felt last year and I've been thinking about this race a lot since then. We had a really good car that day and thought we were going to go to victory lane and got beat on fuel mileage," said Truex, Jr. "We just need to continue what we've been doing, we've been so good and we've really had a great season. We don't have a lot to show for it, but we've got a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum and fast race cars. Hopefully we can get to victory lane here soon.

"We've had a lot of strong points this year, a lot of good moments, we've led a lot of laps and this is our second pole. It's obvious that our speed wasn't just a come and go type of thing, we've been fast everywhere every week. We obviously feel like we've let a few wins slip away so I wouldn't say this is the high point, but it's definitely a good feeling."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"] Truex's pole-winning run spoiled what was shaping up to be a big night for the Ford teams, with all both Team Penske entries and all three Roush-Fenway Racing drivers advancing to the final round.

Logano and Ryan Blaney put their Fords in the front row following the opening round of qualifying, with Ford taking six of the top eight spots. Logano then went onto lead the second round with Greg Biffle running second, this time four swept the top four spots.

In the final round, was among the first drivers back out on the track and laid down his fastest lap of the day at 192.007 mph. to grab the initial pole, before Truex, Jr. came around to bump him from the top spot. Stenhouse, Jr. crossed the line a minute later but came up short with a speed of 191.428 mph.

Logano, who won himself a cool million dollars with a win in last Saturday night's Sprint All Star Race, said his team is carrying a lot of momentum from last week they hope will carry over inti Sunday. The team will also get the second-pick for the all-important pit stall selection.

"This is a great start for us," said Logano. "You look at 600 miles and you may say qualifying doesn't matter much, but we're gonna to spend a lot of time on pit road in this race, so the pit stall is gonna mean a lot for us. We'll have a good one. We won't have as good of a one as if we were able to get the pole, but we'll get the second-best stall in our opinion.

"Overall, our car has speed. It's transferred over from last weekend, at least in qualifying trim. We'll see what happens when we get back here on Saturday and get back in race trim, but overall our Shell/Pennzoil Ford is so fast."

Stenhouse Jr.'s third-place effort was his best starting position of the season and his best start since winning the pole at Atlanta in September of 2013. Thursday marked the first time all three RFR Fords had reached the final round of qualifying since Michigan in August of 2014.

"Being in the top four in every session there was really big for us," said Stenhouse, Jr. "I feel like our simulation has gotten better. The engineers that we've brought in and the leadership that we have in each department has been better. The way the shop is run. We changed everything this off-season and I feel like so far everything is for the better and we're trending in the right direction. We still have a long ways to go, but I'm definitely encouraged with how everything has been so far this year."

Three teams were penalized after receiving their fourth warnings for failing pre-qualifying inspection. Aric Almirola's Richard Petty Motorsports picked up two warnings for failing inspection twice on Thursday, while the Hendrick Motorsports teams of Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. each received one warning for failing inspection.

All three teams will have to pick last during pit stall selection on Saturday and will likely get the last three stalls on pit road.

Qualifying Results

Pos. # Driver Make Sponsor Lap Time Behind
1 78 Martin Truex Jr Toyota Bass Pro Shops 192.328 28.077 Leader
2 22 Joey Logano Ford Shell Pennzoil 192.007 28.124 –0.047
3 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Ford Fastenal 191.428 28.209 –0.132
4 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight 191.388 28.215 –0.138
5 2 Brad Keselowski Ford Miller Lite 190.968 28.277 –0.200
6 16 Greg Biffle Ford Cheez-It 190.503 28.346 –0.269
7 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy Lowe's Patriotic 190.282 28.379 –0.302
8 4 Kevin Harvick Chevy Jimmy John's 190.268 28.381 –0.304
9 19 Carl Edwards Toyota Subway 189.853 28.443 –0.366
10 6 Trevor Bayne Ford Advocare 189.587 28.483 –0.406
11 27 Paul Menard Chevy Knauf / Menards 189.162 28.547 –0.470
12 24 Chase Elliott Chevy NAPA Auto Parts 187.963 28.729 –0.652
13 41 Kurt Busch Chevy Monster Energy 190.114 28.404 –0.327
14 31 Ryan Newman Chevy Whelen 189.927 28.432 –0.355
15 47 AJ Allmendinger Chevy Harris Teeter 189.853 28.443 –0.366
16 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's RWB 189.820 28.448 –0.371
17 13 Casey Mears Chevy GEICO 189.820 28.448 –0.371
18 21 Ryan Blaney Ford Motorcraft 189.807 28.450 –0.373
19 10 Danica Patrick Chevy Nature's Bakery 189.527 28.492 –0.415
20 43 Aric Almirola Ford U.S. Air Force 189.274 28.530 –0.453
21 14 Tony Stewart Chevy Mobil 1 189.188 28.543 –0.466
22 34 Chris Buescher Ford CSX – Play It Safe 188.673 28.621 –0.544
23 1 Jamie McMurray Chevy Cessna/McDonald's 188.508 28.646 –0.569
24 42 Kyle Larson Chevy Target 187.931 28.734 –0.657
25 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevy Nationwide 188.851 28.594 –0.517
26 15 Clint Bowyer Chevy 5-Hour Energy 188.659 28.623 –0.546
27 20 Matt Kenseth Toyota DeWalt 188.534 28.642 –0.565
28 3 Austin Dillon Chevy Cheerios 188.515 28.645 –0.568
29 5 Kasey Kahne Chevy LiftMaster 188.376 28.666 –0.589
30 44 Brian Scott Ford Twisted Tea 188.016 28.721 –0.644
31 7 Regan Smith Chevy Nikko RC 187.480 28.803 –0.726
32 95 Michael McDowell Chevy Thrivent Financial 187.266 28.836 –0.759
33 38 Landon Cassill Ford MDS Transport 187.201 28.846 –0.769
34 83 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota Hope for the 186.955 28.884 –0.807
35 23 David Ragan Toyota Bubba Burger 186.780 28.911 –0.834
36 98 Cole Whitt Chevy VYDOX Plus 185.586 29.097 –1.020
37 30 Josh Wise Chevy Curtis Key Plumbing 183.181 29.479 –1.402
38 46 Michael Annett Chevy Pilot Flying J 183.088 29.494 –1.417
39 32 Jeffrey Earnhardt Ford Can – Am 180.717 29.881 –1.804
40 55 Reed Sorenson Chevy World Record Striper Co 179.432 30.095 –2.018

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