Truex scores 16th career pole at ISM Raceway
By Dominic Aragon
March 9, 2018
AVONDALE, Ariz.—With a lap time of 26.288 seconds and an average speed of 136.945 mph, Martin Truex Jr. posted the fastest time in the third round of qualifying Friday to claim the top starting spot for the Ticket Guardian 500.
Truex picked up the 16th pole of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career, and first of 2018 at ISM Raceway. The pole now ties Truex for 49th with Dale Jarrett and Curtis Turner on the all-time poles list.
“We’ve qualified okay here in the past but we always felt like we were just missing a little bit of something in Turns 3 and 4,” Truex said. “We really came here concentrating on trying to fix that and had a game plan not only with the car set up but the driving style and what I needed to do to be better and just worked on that throughout practice.
“...Just a really good job by everyone on our team to understand what we needed to do to get better and execute.”
Kyle Larson, who won the first practice Friday, will start second. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman will start third and fourth respectively with Joey Logano rounding out the top five.
The highest starting rookie, William Byron, will roll off the grid in 11th.
2017 ISM Raceway March winner Ryan Newman will start 13th.
Jeffrey Earnhardt was the only driver to not post a qualifying lap, as his car hit the wall in the first round of qualifying. He will start 37th.
The Ticket Guardian 500 will run Sunday on FOX at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Joshua A. Hill/TRE