Martin Truex Jr. secured the pole position for the race on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway despite an early exit in the last round of qualifying on Saturday.
In the early morning qualifying on Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Martin Truex Jr. boosted his title chances in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs by securing the pole position in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for Sunday’s 4EVER 400.
In a bid to win his second pole of the year and 22nd overall, Martin Truex Jr. outperformed rival Toyota driver Bubba Wallace (167.115 mph) with an average lap speed of 167.411 mph. This achievement also marks the 500th pole for a Toyota driver across NASCAR’s three national series, Cup, Xfinity, and Trucks.
“I actually thought we could have been a little bit better there,” Truex said. “You never know here. Scuff tires are always a challenge. Pretty good to get that pole for Toyota and a great start for us as well.
“Based on my past experience here I think we are close enough to be good later in the day (in the race) when the track gets slick. With these cars, you just never know what direction it could go. I can be a complete curveball.
“We just need to make smart adjustments tonight and figure out what the pace is going to be and where I want to run and go from there.”
Truex had only finished in the top 10 once across the seven 2023 Playoff races after winning the 2023 regular-season title.
With only two races left, Truex, a two-time winner at the 1.5-mile South Florida track, is poised to seize the advantage and set the Championship 4 for the season finale on November 5 at Phoenix Raceway.
The only other pole position that Truex secured this season came about at Darlington, South Carolina, back in April. This is also his 22nd career top qualifying result.
23XI Racing driver Tyler Reddick finished third fastest, securing Toyota a top-three sweep of the starting lineup and the seventh pole position for the manufacturer in eight Playoff races.
Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing’s owner/driver Brad Keselowski was fourth quickest in his No. 6 RFK Ford with the defending race winner, Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson, turning in the fifth-fastest lap.
The 2021 series champion is the only Playoff driver who has earned his position in the Championship 4 after winning at Las Vegas in last week’s Round of 8.
Ross Chastain(Trackhouse Racing), William Byron(Hendrick Motorsports), and Austin Dillon(Richard Childress Racing) delivered Chevrolet the sixth through eighth starting spots on the grid.
The final two drivers who qualified for the final round were Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney and Ty Gibbs, a rookie for JGR. Blaney is additionally participating in the Playoffs.
Despite not making it to the final qualifying round, three Playoff drivers nevertheless put forth a strong performance. Denny Hamlin(JGR), who has three victories overall that tie for the most of any driver ever, will start eleventh. RFK Racing’s Christopher Buescher and his teammate Christopher Bell, who made it to the Championship 4 last year, will start in positions 13 and 17, respectively.
Although Larson is already automatically eligible for the Phoenix championship finale, the rest of the contenders are closely spaced behind him.
Bell, who is in fifth place, is nine points behind Byron. Only two points separate Truex and Hamlin from Bell.