Race Weekend Central

Martin Truex, Jr. Wins 2nd Straight Pole of 2016

For the second consecutive week, it’s Martin Truex, Jr. who will lead the field to green in the Sprint Cup Series.

Winning the pole last week at Talladega – the biggest, fastest track on the circuit – Truex came to the shortest and slowest track of Martinsville Speedway and backed it up, winning his fifth pole of 2016 and 12th of his Cup career.

“My first pole here at Martinsville, so cool accomplishment,” Truex said. “The history here – it’s just a place that everybody wants to do good at.”

Eliminated from Chase contention following a blown motor at Talladega, Truex’s head has been focused on a Martinsville victory ever since.

“It’s fun to be back at the racetrack with some positive things happening,” he said. “As soon as we got together in the garage at Talladega, we said ‘Lets go win Martinsville.’ So, I think our attitude instantly changed.”

Joey Logano, who lines up second, was only 0.008 seconds in rears of the No. 78, snapping a streak of three consecutive Martinsville poles, yet, continuing a streak of five straight front-row starts at the ‘Paper Clip.’

“We have confidence in ourselves,” Logano said. “It’s like a snowball effect when you’re [in the back of the field] everything just keeps getting worse. You have to get track position, it becomes very important in this race.”

Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott were third and fourth quickest while AJ Allmendinger, who finished a season-best second in the spring, lines up fourth for Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500.

The opening round had some drama for a few non-Chase contenders, as the common issue of wheel-hopping bit Austin Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

Stenhouse, who backed hard into the Turn 1 wall, had to go to a back-up No. 17 machine.  He will officially line up 39th.  Dillon continued after his wall contact and qualified 32nd.

Completing the top-10 starters are Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon.

David Ragan earned his best start of 2016, qualifying his No. 23 BK Racing Toyota in the 12th spot while 18-year-old Gray Gaulding officially qualified for his first Cup start in the No. 30 Chevrolet in 36th.

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Elliott is fifth. Only one car can be fourth.

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