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Truex Wins Kansas Pole

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, May 6 2016
Martin Truex Jr. is on pole in Kansas. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

Martin Truex Jr. is on pole in Kansas. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

RacinToday.com

Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing posted a fast lap at 28.284 seconds (190.921 mph) to win the pole for Saturday night’s Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway on Friday.

The pole was the eighth of Truex’s career and his first since April 2012 at Texas, a string of 147 races.

“It kind of took us a while to figure out this three-round deal,” said Truex, who edged fellow Toyota driver Matt Kenseth (190.564 mph) for the top starting spot by .053 seconds.

“It feels good to get another pole. It’s been a long time. We’ve been really close with our Furniture Row team the past two years—we qualified second a handful of times—and we’ve been right there at it. We’ve led the first round, we’ve led the second round.

Truex, who has been average at Kanas, was asked if he thought the pole would lead to a good finish on Saturda.

“Find out tomorrow night,” he said. “Luck is what it is. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. You go out there and you control the things you can control. Our guys are working hard. Our race cars are fast thanks to all their hard work. We’re just like I said, today we’re going to go out there and put our best on the race track and hope it’s good enough. I mean, that’s what we do each and every weekend. For me personally, sometimes it’s hard to think about the days you dominated races and didn’t get the checkered flag, but it also motivates you to be better and to come back and try harder and you never know what can happen, so I’m looking forward to I think – our cars have been so fast.”

Kenseth was fastest in each of the first two knockout rounds but came up short when the pole was decided.

“All of our Toyotas had a lot of speed in ’em,” said Kenseth, who led all three of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates into the final 12. “I just couldn’t quite get that last lap that I wanted.

“We had a lot of speed, but we just got a little off our balance there at the end, and Martin was able to get it.”

JGR driver Denny Hamlin (190.402 mph) qualified third, followed by Kurt Busch (190.134 mph) and Brad Keselowski (189.907 mph), who was one of four Ford drivers to crack the top 12.

It was an off day for the Hendrick Motorsports contingent. Sunoco Rookie of the Year leader Chase Elliott qualified 13th, missing the cutoff for the final 12 by .086 seconds. Jimmie Johnson, who overcame engine problems earlier in the day, will start 15th, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. 22nd and Kasey Kahne 27th.

Like Kahne, Kevin Harvick was bumped out of the top 24 in the opening round and will take the green flag in 26th position.

Kurt Busch, the top qualifying Chevrolet driver, confessed to overdriving Turn 3 during his final run but was optimistic because of positive adjustments made to his car between rounds.

“Yeah, I feel good because we made three spring changes going into that qualifying run,” Busch said. “Those are things we wanted to try for the race, and we ran out of practice time to do so.  It’s nice that it turned out positive and the pace in qualifying is fast, yes, but the race will be at nightfall whereas we practiced in the daytime.

“This speed should be right in the middle of what we just ran and what changes we made. I think we’re cooking up the right batch (for the race).”

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, May 6 2016
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