Truex Jr. scores Talladega pole

Truex Jr. celebrates pole at Talladega

Truex Jr. celebrates pole at Talladega

Martin Truex Jr. has taken the pole at Talladega, for what will be the final race to decide the Round of 8 in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Like Daytona, Talladega is a restrictor plate track where pack racing is the order of the day. Avoiding the big wreck will be crucial to all of those aiming to make it through to the next phase of NASCAR’s version of the playoffs.

“It’s definitely cool. You come here and you don’t really have a lot to say as a driver when it comes to qualifying,” said Truex Jr.

“Proud of the team, everybody in Denver, everybody here at the racetrack for their efforts. It’s awesome to be the fastest guy in town.

“We really haven’t qualified well at the restrictor plate tracks the last few years. Having speed is important. I really haven’t had a car at a plate track in a couple years that was really strong that I really could make moves with and try to get out front and lead the race quite often.”

Only Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are guaranteed a place in the next stage of the Chase, after winning the last two events at Charlotte and Kansas.

It is Truex’s first pole at the 2.66-mile superspeedway, fourth poles of 2016 and 11th in his career.

Brad Keselowski, a four-time Talladega winner, will share the front row.

Technical inspections were intense prior to qualifying with Truex’s crew and the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas all having issues.

Officials found a single hollow jack screw in the front suspension. Rules state ‘Front jack screws must be constructed of solid, magnetic steel.’

“They caught it in inspection and we were posted,” crew chief Cole Pearn told reporters.

“It wasn’t intentional by any means. There’s no way you would do it at Talladega. Why would you do it on one side and not the other two if you were going to do it on purpose?

“Simple stuff like that gets caught all the time … NASCAR said they would review it, but people make mistakes all the time. It wasn’t intentional.”

NASCAR confirmed that they will carry out further analysis following the race weekend.

“They had a jack bolt that we feel like didn’t meet the specifications in the rule book,” said Scott Miller, NASCAR VP of Competition.

“We’ll take it back to the R&D Center and go through our normal process like we do, analyze everything and decide what we’re gonna do. Because it is the playoffs, everyone has that heightened sense of everything.”

The three Joe Gibbs Racing cars of Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Kenseth were pulled from the qualifying line just before their speed attempts. NASCAR officials said that they were investigating a potential issue with the boot lid and quarter panel area. With those issues remedied behind the wall, all three were allowed to qualify.

Reed Sorenson, who was required to make the field on the basis of qualifying time, posted an

David Gilliland failed to qualify for the 40-car field.

QUALIFYING: Hellman’s 500 – Talladega Superspeedway

1 78 Martin Truex Jr Toyota Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats 193.423 49.508
2 2 Brad Keselowski Ford Miller Lite 193.365 –0.015
3 20 Matt Kenseth Toyota DeWalt Flexvolt 193.189 –0.060
4 24 Chase Elliott Chevrolet NAPA Auto Parts 193.166 –0.066
5 16 Greg Biffle Ford Cheez-It Ford Fusion 193.123 –0.077
6 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Ford Zest Ford Fusion 192.975 –0.115
7 41 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Haas Automation / Monster Energy Chevrolet SS 192.746 –0.174
8 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Ground 192.610 –0.209
9 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet American Ethanol 192.177 –0.321
10 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Sylvania / Menards 192.123 –0.335
11 6 Trevor Bayne Ford Advocare Ford Fusion 192.039 –0.357
12 55 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet TBD 188.300 –1.347
13 19 Carl Edwards Toyota Subway 192.131 –0.333
14 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Snickers Halloween 192.039 –0.357
15 21 Ryan Blaney Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 192.039 –0.357
16 22 Joey Logano Ford Shell Pennzoil 192.012 –0.364
17 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet LOWE’S PRO SERVICES 191.704 –0.444
18 99 Ryan Reed Ford Lilly Diabetes / American Diabetes Association Ford Fusion 191.700 –0.445
19 88 Alex Bowman Chevrolet Mountain Dew 191.627 –0.464
20 31 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Caterpillar 191.466 –0.506
21 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Rush Truck Centers / Mobil 1Chevrolet SS 190.962 –0.638
22 4 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS 190.768 –0.689
23 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet CESSNA 190.393 –0.788
24 42 Kyle Larson Chevrolet Energizer 190.162 –0.849
25 44 Brian Scott Ford Goody’s Ford 190.026 –0.885
26 43 Aric Almirola Ford Smithfield 190.004 –0.891
27 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet UniFirst 189.891 –0.921
28 13 Casey Mears Chevrolet GEICO 189.755 –0.957
29 7 Regan Smith Chevrolet Golden Corral Chevrolet 189.688 –0.975
30 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS 189.643 –0.987
31 38 Landon Cassill Ford FR8 Auctions 189.612 –0.995
32 47 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet Kroger/Scott Products 189.515 –1.021
33 34 Chris Buescher Ford Love’s Travel Stops 189.242 –1.094
34 95 Michael McDowell Chevrolet KLOVE Radio 188.775 –1.219
35 93 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota Dustless Blasting 188.419 –1.315
36 15 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 5-Hour Energy 188.086 –1.405
37 46 Michael Annett Chevrolet Pilot Flying J 187.993 –1.430
38 32 Bobby Labonte Ford 187.368 –1.600
39 83 Jeffrey Earnhardt Toyota Starter 186.765 –1.765
40 23 David Ragan Toyota sweetFrog 186.358 –1.877



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