Race Weekend Central

Martin Truex Jr. Wins Auto Club 400 Pole

Martin Truex Jr. secured his second straight pole on Friday (March 9) for Sunday’s Auto Club 400. Truex also earned the first Busch Pole Award in 2018 following the announcement of Busch sponsoring the award earlier this week. He also won the pole last weekend at ISM Raceway, where he finished the race in fifth.

Truex turned a 38.592-second lap (186.567 mph) in the final round ahead of Kyle Busch, who qualified second. The second-place start will be the second time Busch has started on the front row this season. Busch also started on the pole at Atlanta.

Defending race winner Kyle Larson qualified third followed by Erik Jones and Austin Dillon rounded out the top five.

Joey Logano will start sixth, followed by Kurt Busch and Ryan Blaney. Ryan Newman qualified in the ninth position while Kevin Harvick, who led both the first and second rounds, rounded out the top 10.

12 drivers failed to turn a lap in the session after inspection issues marred the session. Two Toyotas, two Fords, and eight Chevrolets failed to make it on track before the clock ran out and those drivers will all start from the rear. Unlike the drivers who qualified, these drivers will start on sticker tires, which may prove to be an advantage as they come from the back of the field.

Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, Alex Bowman, William Byron, Daniel Suarez, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, AJ Allmendinger, Kasey Kahne, Timmy Hill, and Ross Chastain all failed to pass inspection before the clock struck zero in the final round.

With only 37 drivers entered, no one was sent home.

There will be two practice sessions Saturday at 12:35 p.m ET and 3:30 p.m. ET. Both of those will be televised on FOX Sports 1. Coverage of the Auto Club 400 begins at 3:00 p.m. ET this Sunday (March 18) on FOX. The race will also be broadcasted live on the Motor Racing Network and on SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90.


About the author


His favorite tracks on the circuit include Barber Motorsports Park, Iowa Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville, and Bristol Motor Speedway.

During the season, Christian also spends time as a photographer with multiple other outlets shooting Monster Energy AMA Supercross, Minor League & Major League Baseball, and NCAA Football.

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Oops, I thought that the new laser robot was going to speed up the inspection process so everyone made it through on time, but a third of the field doesn’t? I guess hat is what NASCAR calls progress.


Seems like the teams have arrived at the obvious. Qualifying is irrelevant. A waste of money and time, the first caution flag negates it.


Apparently starting next week at Martinsville cars not clearing inspection in time to post a qualifying lap will also get a “pass through” penalty the first green flag lap of the race. (At Martinsville that will put you a lap down for sure) We’re working on a story on the new rule now.


Add a little gray with that beard & MT could pass for the villain in the original Die Hard.

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