Truex takes Phoenix Cup pole

Martin Truex Jr claimed his third pole position of the season in qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway

Truex takes Phoenix Cup pole

Truex set a time of 26.643 seconds at an average speed of 135.120 mph on his first timed lap, beating the previous benchmark set by reigning champion Jimmie Johnson. Texas winner Kurt Busch came closest to Truex's time, but he was still more than a tenth of a second off the Earnhardt Ganassi driver.

While most set their best times on their second lap, Truex got pole with his first one, something he struggled to explain, despite it happening to him in the past at the one-mile oval.

"We were 20th in practice but it was only like a tenth and a half from first to where we were, so it doesn't take a whole lot," said Truex. "But we just made the right adjustments and the lap felt great.

"We've qualified second here twice and it was the same way both of these times. Our first lap was quicker and I'm not sure why that is with us. It must be air pressure or something."

The #1 car of Truex carries the famous Starbucks logo on the rear panel this weekend, marking the company's debut as a sponsor in NASCAR, which made Truex's pole position all the more valuable for his team.

Busch will line up on the outside of the front row on Sunday, while Johnson ended up third ahead of Kasey Kahne, who had been on provisional pole earlier in the session, recovering from a brush with the wall in practice.

Mark Martin, who claimed victory from pole position at Phoenix earlier this year, will see the green flag wave from 10th on the grid in the penultimate race of the year, while Jeff Gordon was only 14th fastest during the session.

Bobby Labonte was the fastest qualifier among those who needed to make the field on time, while Italian Max Papis was not far behind in 23rd, also making the field on speed. Regan Smith, Kevin Conway and Brandon Ash, failed to qualify for Sunday's race.

Pos Driver Car Speed Time Gap 1. Martin Truex Jr Chevrolet 135.120 26.643s 2. Kurt Busch Dodge 134.579 26.750s + 0.107s 3. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 134.454 26.775s + 0.132s 4. Kasey Kahne Dodge 134.293 26.807s + 0.164s 5. Denny Hamlin Toyota 134.228 26.820s + 0.177s 6. Greg Biffle Ford 134.223 26.821s + 0.178s 7. Kyle Busch Toyota 134.173 26.831s + 0.188s 8. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 134.078 26.850s + 0.207s 9. Casey Mears Chevrolet 134.028 26.860s + 0.217s 10. Mark Martin Chevrolet 134.023 26.861s + 0.218s 11. Michael Waltrip Toyota 133.949 26.876s + 0.233s 12. Sam Hornish Jr Dodge 133.924 26.881s + 0.238s 13. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 133.879 26.89 s + 0.247s 14. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 133.874 26.891s + 0.248s 15. David Reutimann Toyota 133.864 26.893s + 0.250s 16. AJ Allmendinger Ford 133.759 26.914s + 0.271s 17. Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 133.720 26.922s + 0.279s 18. Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 133.700 26.926s + 0.283s 19. Brian Vickers Toyota 133.680 26.930s + 0.287s 20. Bobby Labonte Chevrolet 133.571 26.952s + 0.309s 21. Marcos Ambrose Toyota 133.551 26.956s + 0.313s 22. Robby Gordon Toyota 133.417 26.983s + 0.340s 23. Max Papis Toyota 133.402 26.986s + 0.343s 24. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 133.240 27.019s + 0.376s 25. Carl Edwards Ford 133.215 27.024s + 0.381s 26. Brad Keselowski Dodge 133.161 27.035s + 0.392s 27. Joey Logano Toyota 133.151 27.037s + 0.394s 28. Matt Kenseth Ford 133.121 27.043s + 0.400s 29. David Gilliland Chevrolet 133.087 27.050s + 0.407s 30. Jamie McMurray Ford 133.062 27.055s + 0.412s 31. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 132.930 27.082s + 0.439s 32. Dave Blaney Toyota 132.925 27.083s + 0.440s 33. David Ragan Ford 132.812 27.106s + 0.463s 34. Joe Nemechek Toyota 132.783 27.112s + 0.469s 35. Elliott Sadler Dodge 132.763 27.116s + 0.473s 36. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 132.650 27.139s + 0.496s 37. Scott Speed Toyota 132.333 27.204s + 0.561s 38. Michael McDowell Toyota 132.275 27.216s + 0.573s 39. Erik Darnell Ford 132.178 27.236s + 0.593s 40. Reed Sorenson Dodge 131.829 27.308s + 0.665s 41. Paul Menard Ford 131.377 27.402s + 0.759s 42. John Andretti Chevrolet 130.757 27.532s + 0.889s 43. Tony Raines Chevrolet 132.091 27.254s + 0.611s Did not qualify: Regan Smith Chevrolet 132.062 27.260s + 0.617 Kevin Conway Chevrolet 131.892 27.295s + 0.652 Brandon Ash Dodge 130.662 27.552s + 0.909 
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