Martin Truex Jr. Will Start on Pole for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400

Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

By Summer Bedgood, Managing Editor

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — In a move that almost everyone saw coming, Martin Truex Jr. drove to the pole position during Friday’s qualifying session at Kansas Speedway.

Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 is the cutoff race for the Round of 12, leaving only eight drivers to contend for the championship in the Round of 8. The thing is, Truex is already in by virtue of his victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway two weeks ago.

But that didn’t stop him from continuing the intermediate racetrack domination he has shown all season long, despite the windy conditions in the heartland.

“Anytime you come to Kansas, you expect high winds,” said Truex. “It’s kind of par for the course. I think the fact that it was pretty consistent all day long even though it was fairly strong, it was pretty easy to deal with. Just really proud of all the guys on our Bass Pro Camry. They did a really nice job this week and the guys worked really hard to get this car ready throughout the week back in Denver. We had a few changes to put on this car late and they did a great job with that. Had a good day throughout practice. I felt like we needed to make some adjustments going into qualifying and just made all the right changes and then again throughout the three rounds. It just made the right changes for each round. Proud of everybody. They did a great job. It’s nice to be able to step up — when there’s kind of something big on the line — to step up and make it happen. It was fun and looking forward to starting up front here this week and also that first pit stall next week at Martinsville is huge, so we were definitely gunnin’ for this pole to try to get that for next week.”

Not only did Friday’s qualifying session determine the pit stall selection for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400, but also for next week’s race at Martinsville Speedway. Since next weekend is only a two-day show, qualifying will take place prior to the race on Sunday, which wouldn’t leave enough time between qualifying and the race for a proper pit stall selection.

Kevin Harvick, the defending winner of this event, will start alongside Truex on the front row. Harvick is 22 points above the cutoff line heading into this week’s elimination race and is carrying some confidence into Sunday.

“I think every time we come here it feels good just because of the fact that we’ve run so well here and qualified well and today was the same result,” Harvick said after qualifying. “Obviously, you always want to qualify first, but I think knowing everything that’s on the line for pit stall selection this week and next week, it was definitely a good day. We can definitely race from there. I think we’ll hopefully have a car capable of staying up there and hopefully having a chance to win the race at the end of the day. It’s a good start to the weekend and that’s half the battle when you’re trying to collect stage points in the first stage and good pit stall selection and try to gain all the advantages that you can on Friday and that’s been something that our team has done a really good job of this year. I feel like our cas are a lot faster than they were at the beginning of the year on the mile-and-a-half racetracks and we’re in the game. So it’s been a fun few weeks”

Playoff drivers Ryan Blaney and Matt Kenseth will start in the row behind Truex and Harvick. Denny Hamlin rounds out the top five.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will have one 50-minute practice session Saturday morning beginning at 10:00AM CT, followed by a final practice session from 12:30PM to 1:20PM CT.

The Hollywood Casino 400 begins at 2:00PM CT on Sunday, October 22nd.  

Full Starting Lineup 

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