MARTIN TRUEX JR. TAKES POLE AT ISM RACEWAY

Martin Truex Jr. qualified first for Sunday’s Ticket Guardian 500 at ISM Raceway.

The pole is his 16th in the Cup Series and his second at the 1-mile track. Truex captured the pole with a speed of 136.945 mph.

Kyle Larson will start second (136.643).

Rounding out the top five is Chase Elliott (136.126), Alex Bowman (136.080) and Joey Logano (135.947).

“I did get a little loose going into (Turn 3) and thought for a second maybe I screwed it up,” Truex told Fox Sports 1. “But I caught the brake and caught the front grip just in time to keep it off that seem in the middle of the corner and was able to get a good shot off.”

Truex’s last pole at track in Avondale, Arizona, was in 2009 when he drove for Dale Earnhardt, Inc.

Larson will start on the front row for the first time since last September’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“I’m actually a little disappointed in second because I always qualify good here,” Larson told FS1. “I’ve been top eight every single time I’ve qualified at Phoenix (except for 12th in the spring 2015 race). Still don’t have a pole yet. I thought today would be the day.”

Defending race winner Ryan Newman will start 13th.

Jimmie Johnson was fastest in the first round but qualified 17th.

“I got to look back to the amount of practice we had today, we only had 20 minutes of practice because of the issues we had in Las Vegas,” Johnson told FS1. “I never had a chance to go out on scuff tires to see what adjustments we needed to make. I had two runs on stickers in practice and we clearly dialed that part of the car in. It would have been nice to have a scuff run to go out and understand just what to do.”

Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Darrell Wallace Jr., Ty Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. failed to advance out of the first round.

Keselowski will start 25th, his worst qualifying result since the 2015 Brickyard 400 (31st).

Jeffrey Earnhardt brought out a red flag four minutes into the first round after he made contact with the wall.

Check back for more.

Story credited to NBCNascar and Daniel McFadin

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