Martin Truex tops Joey Logano for pole at Martinsville

By The Sports Xchange
NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship racer Martin Truex Jr. .UPI/Joe Marino-Bill Cantrell
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MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Martin Truex Jr.'s ouster from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup didn't affect his qualifying prowess.
A week after winning the pole at Talladega, only to exit the race and the Chase with a blown engine, Truex posted his second straight top qualifying effort at Martinsville Speedway, winning the pole for Sunday's Goody's Fast Relief 500 (1 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
In collecting his first Coors Light Pole Award at the .526-mile short track, his fifth of the season and the 12th of his career, Truex edged Talladega winner Joey Logano by .008 seconds in running 98.206 mph in the third and final round of knockout qualifying.
By that razor-thin margin, Truex ended Logano's streak of three consecutive poles at Martinsville. And the top qualifying run earned Truex the right to choose pit stall No. 1, closest to the exit from pit road and an unquestioned advantage for the pole-winning driver.
"This place is just so tough, and that first pit stall is just so critical to having a shot at winning here," Truex said. "I would love to get my first grandfather clock (the winner's trophy). 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.
"It's no guarantee that we'll race well on Sunday, but it's definitely a nice advantage if you have a good race car to be able to make up spots on pit road and not have to worry about getting blocked in and all those things. It's a definite advantage, and hopefully we can have a good car to take advantage of it."
Logano took his close call with a fourth straight pole philosophically.
"So close to getting that fourth pole in a row," Logano said. "It would have been pretty cool to be able to say you did that, but it's been a great streak. ... Starting up front is important here at Martinsville. We've proven that before. 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."
Neither Truex nor Logano has won at Martinsville, but the Chase driver starting third, Jimmie Johnson (97.840 mph), has eight victories at the track. In addition to Logano and Johnson, Chase drivers and Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch earned the seventh, eighth and ninth spots on the grid, respectively.
The three remaining Chase drivers in the Round of 8 failed to advance to the final round. Matt Kenseth will start 17th on Sunday, with Kevin Harvick 20th and Kurt Busch 23rd.
NOTES: AJ Allmendinger, runner-up at Martinsville in April, will start fourth, his second-best qualifying effort of the season (he was second on the grid for the road course race at Sonoma in June). ... Chase Elliott and Tony Stewart will line up fifth and sixth, respectively. ... Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wheel-hopped into the Turn 1 wall just over six minutes into the first round on Friday and will start Sunday's race in a backup car. ... Austin Dillon also scraped the wall in the first round, but his team was attempting to repair the No. 3 Chevrolet. Eliminated from the Chase last week at Talladega, Dillon will start 32nd on Sunday.
Martin Truex tops Joey Logano for pole at Martinsville Reviewed by Bizpodia on 17:26 Rating: 5

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