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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade / NKP)

Martin Truex Jr. Secures 19th Career Cup Series Pole at Kentucky

Defending race winner Martin Truex Jr. is off to a solid start in his quest to earn a second straight win at the Quaker State 400.

Truex was fastest in the final round of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying Friday (July 13) to secure his 19th career pole. It’s the fourth for him this season and first at Kentucky Speedway in eight attempts. Truex turned a 188.890-mph lap around the 1.5-mile racetrack to put his No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota on top of the charts.

Last weekend’s winner and Truex’s former teammate, Erik Jones, qualified in second. That’s his best effort since his first and only pole last August at Bristol.

Kevin Harvick qualified third while Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch rounded out the top-five lap times.

The Fords of Paul Menard, Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch qualified sixth through ninth while Ryan Newman rounded out the top 10. Daniel Suarez and Aric Almirola were the last two drivers to transfer into NASCAR’s final round of qualifying.

Notable drivers who qualified outside the top 12 include Chase Elliott (16th), Kyle Larson (18th), Joey Logano (19th) and Jimmie Johnson (27th). Denny Hamlin joined Matt DiBenedetto, Jesse Little and Timmy Hill as drivers who failed to turn at least one lap during any qualifying round.

As if the session wasn’t already full of drama, Kyle Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. both exchanged words throughout the day concerning Stenhouse’s involvement in multiple wrecks last weekend at Daytona. Stenhouse warned Busch not to keep “running his mouth” after an on-track confrontation on pit road while both were waiting to qualify.


Coverage of the Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart kicks off at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN with MENCS Countdown to Green. Coverage of the race itself begins at 7:30 p.m. ET, also on NBCSN.

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About Christian Koelle

Christian Koelle
Christian Koelle returns to Fronstretch in 2018 after joining the organization in late 2017. He is looking to write full-time this season with Frontstretch. Along with Motorsports Christian also covers Minor League Baseball, with a focus on the Southern League. His second passion is baseball. He and his family reside in Ooltewah, TN, a town just outside of Chattanooga.

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