Truex, Jones capture front row for Quaker State 400

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Martin Truex Jr. makes a lap during practice Friday at Kentucky Speedway. He would go on to win the pole for Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

SPARTA, Ky. — Martin Truex Jr. won the pole Friday evening for Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. It was Truex’s 19th pole of his career.

Truex turned a lap of 188.890 mph in the final round of qualifying to capture the pole. He said after qualifying that it was a full team effort.

“I think it’s my team, man,” he said. “They’re incredible. We had a really good day today in practice.”

Truex said he was only 11th in the first round of qualifying, and the team made changes to make it faster as the rounds went on.

“I had to adjust my driving style. They had to adjust the car to suit that,” he said. “It’s all of us working the right way together and having that communication and trust. That’s what makes you able to do what we did today.”

He said he liked his chances at Kentucky. He won his first Kentucky race last season. But he said his team has been running well everywhere it goes.

“I feel like we’re running in the top five every single race,” Truex said. “That’s been encouraging. I feel like we could go anywhere and win right now and that’s what it takes.”

Truex’s teammate last season, Erik Jones, backed up his first-career win at Daytona last weekend with a second-place qualifying position at Kentucky this weekend. He said he’s being careful not to get too caught up in the success.

“At this point, you have to stay pretty level-headed,” he said. “We have a pretty fast car, and that’s encouraging for sure. We have 267 more laps left before we have to start worrying about (winning two weeks in a row).”

However, he said he believes he could have the car to do it this weekend, and he has high expectations.

“They’re pretty high,” he said. “We want to run pretty well in these next races before the playoffs. We’ve definitely got a lot of momentum in our corner right now coming into Kentucky.”

Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five qualifiers.

Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 from Kentucky Speedway is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.


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