Truex, Jr. Destroys Nbs Kentucky Speedway Track Record With Pole Win
NASCAR Busch Series points leader Martin Truex, Jr., reeled off a top qualifying lap at 180.102 mph to set a new series track record by 3.718 mph this evening at Kentucky Speedway.
He scored his fifth pole of the season and the fifth of his NASCAR Busch Series career after cutting his one-lap qualifying run. Truex, Jr., also won the pole last week at Nashville. The Chance 2 Motorsports product will shoot for his second win from the pole this season in tomorrow's "Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo." He began the week leading the series in victories with four and Busch Pole Awards with five.
"It was a great run for us, we felt pretty good when we took the car off the truck," Truex, Jr., said. "The car was just about perfect when we ran the lap. I thought it was pretty good, which is why we only ran one lap. If it wouldn't have been, we would have made another run."
He topped second-place qualifier Kyle Busch by .045 of a second. Busch, a Kentucky Speedway winner in the ARCA RE/MAX Series last May, also was the top rookie qualifier in the field. He turned his best qualifying effort in 30.028 seconds, good for 179.832 mph.
"We hope it's going to be pretty good. We have a great car and we had an awesome test (here last week)," Busch said. "We felt like we were going to have a good shot for the pole. We never worked on any qualifying stuff, we just worked on racing stuff to keep up with the No. 8 (Truex, Jr.) and the No. 25 (Bobby Hamilton, Jr.).
Hamilton, Jr., qualified third with a 30.066-second lap. The defending race champion will start in the top-five for the fifth time in his past seven starts.
"This morning's practice went extremely well with race trim," Hamilton, Jr., said. "The car hardly ever dropped off. If you can be in the top three when you get into the corners, you can be pretty fast. Mainly, all qualifying is for is to get a real good pit assignment. That is so important now-a-days to win races. We'll take what we got."
Jason Leffler (No. 00 HAAS Automation Chevrolet) qualified fourth with a 178.992 mph (30.169 seconds) lap. Robby Gordon, fresh off his flight from Michigan International Speedway where he is competing in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race there this weekend, will start fifth after turning his best lap of 178.903 mph (30.184 seconds).
"The most important thing (about getting in a cold car) is that the crew knows the kind of balance that I need," Gordon said. "After practice, they were able to work on that balance. This car is the same car we drove last weekend in Nashville. This thing should have been to Victory Lane, but it hasn't. We are a new team, we've had our ups and downs, but we are always towards the front of the grid."
NNCS regular Greg Biffle, who owns a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win and two runner-up Busch Series finishes at Kentucky Speedway, joined Gordon in his travels from Michigan and qualified seventh with a lap of 177.591 mph (30.407 seconds).
In all, 13 drivers qualified ahead of the previous 176.384 mph qualifying record set by Stacy Compton last year.
Happy Hour Update:
The No. 5 Lowe's/Gladiator Garage Works Chevrolet of Kyle Busch became loose exiting Turn 3 and made contact with the Turn 4 wall on the car's 18th practice lap. Busch will move to a back-up car and move to the rear of the field tomorrow evening.
"It was a rookie mistake," Busch said. "I shut the motor off to get a clean cut to coast in. It was just too fast when I got down on the apron. We used our back-up car at California when we wrecked in practice. We went from 24th to seventh."
Bliss led the final practice with a fastest lap of 175.856 mph.
Kasey Kahne is the only NNCS driver entered in tommorrow's race to have neither qualified nor practiced his car at Kentucky Speedway today. Tyler Walker qualified Kahne's No. 38 Great Clips Dodge in 29th. Kahne also will move to the rear of "The Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" field.
Standing-room-only tickets for the event will be available for $30 beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the Kentucky Speedway Fan Center outside Turn 3 at the facility. Tickets also will be on sale at the ticket windows at the main entrance of the venue between Gates 15 and 16 beginning at 2:00 p.m.
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