Martin Truex Jr. Tops Qualifying At Martinsville Speedway For Fifth Pole Of 2016by Hunter Thomas October 28, 2016 0 comments
RIDGEWAY, Va. – Martin Truex Jr. captured the Coors Light Pole Award for Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 on Friday at Martinsville Speedway after running a lap of 19.282 seconds at 98.206 mph.
The pole run marks the fifth time this season that the driver of the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry will pace the field down to the green flag. Truex Jr. now has 12 career poles in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. On Friday, he was third on Round 1 of qualifying and second in Round 2. In the third and final round, Truex Jr. topped Joey Logano for the pole.
“This place is just so tough and that first pit stall is just so critical to having a shot at winning here,” Truex Jr. “I would love to get my first grandfather clock. And a little bit after last week, this helps a little bit. All in all, just proud of the guys for coming here with a game plan and executing.”
Joey Logano missed out on the pole by a mere 0.008 seconds. Logano, driver of the Team Penske No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion enters the weekend coming off a win at Talladega Superspeedway. In Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Friday, the Round of 8 driver was fastest in Round 1 and sixth in Round 2. Prior to Friday afternoon, Logano had sat on the previous three poles at Martinsville Speedway. In fact, Friday’s effort will mark his fifth front row start in-a row at the track.
“Starting up front is important here at Martinsville,” Logano said. “We’ve proven that be-ore. We’ll be able to get a good pit stall, which is a lot of opportunity to take advantage of that here. It gives us a good start to get a good rhythm into this long race and get our car tuned up to where we want to, and get the grandfather clock when we’re done. We’re not in the business of getting poles, we’re in the business of winning races. A lot of times that takes winning the pole, but in general we want to win the race.”
Eight-time Martinsville Speedway winner, Jimmie Johnson will start third on Sunday. The driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS has 19 top-10 starts at speedway. The third place effort his 16th top-10 start so far this season. Johnson struggled in Round 1 on Friday while posting only the 11th fastest lap, but the Chase contender jumped up to eighth in Round 2.
“Yeah it’s such a tricky little place,” Johnson said. “I just seemed to get better as the day went on kind of finding my rhythm. I didn’t do much to the car it was really about me finding a half a tenth. It was really the smallest of margins that made the difference. That is the speed we ran in practice, which had us 11th or 13th or something and now it has us good enough for third. Just a very difficult feel and everybody is so stinking tight. So, glad that it worked out that is a great starting spot, great pit road pick. Definitely doing things and headed in the right direction.”
AJ Allmendinger posted an impressive fourth place run during Coors Light Pole Qualifying. Chase Elliott will round out the top-five five. In his last visit to Martinsville Speedway as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, Tony Stewart will start sixth. Carl Edwards will start seventh, followed by Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon.
Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway will broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 1 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Camille Jones