Martin Truex Jr. snags Coke 600 pole

Martin Truex Jr. grabbed the top spot for the Coca-Cola 600 on Thursday night.

Martin Truex Jr. snags Coke 600 pole

Truex wheeled the No. 78 Furniture Row Toyota to his first pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a lap of 192.328 mph. 

For Truex, it was his ninth career pole — and his second pole in the last three races. 

“We really had to work hard today,” Truex said. “We really weren’t that good in practice. We made a lot of changes — we made a lot of changes throughout this qualifying session. So hats off to my guys for some really good work. I’m really lucky to be with this group for sure."

Truex said the key to converting his solid runs this season into a win is to continue with his team’s strategy.

“We’ve been so good and we’ve really had a great season,” Truex added. "We don’t have a lot to show for it, but we’ve got a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum and fast race cars. Hopefully we can get to victory lane here soon.”

Joey Logano was first out on the track for the third round of time trials. He hoped to continue the trend of topping the speed chart in the final segment — and even returned to the track for a second attempt. But the driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford had to settle for second with a lap of 192.007 mph. 

“We never say die, that’s for sure," Logano said. "We keep pushing to the end. That’s what I love about my team.  It’s like, ‘We’re second. We’re gonna go again.’ It’s sometimes a last-ditch effort.  Most of the times it never works, but we try hard and that makes us feel better so we keep pushing at it. 

"Overall, the Shell/Pennzoil Ford was really fast.  We showed that with winning the first two rounds, but we just didn’t win the most important one at the end.  A front row starting spot is nice for a 600-mile race.  We can get a good pit stall because we’re gonna be in the pits a lot.  I’m excited about the speed we have in the car.  It’s continued from week to week from the All-Star Race, so we’ll see what we’ve got.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (191.428 mph), Denny Hamlin (191.388 mph), Brad Keselowski (190.968 mph) and Greg Biffle (190.503 mph) rounded out the top six. 

Seven-time Charlotte winner Jimmie Johnson (190.282 mph) rolls off seventh followed by Kevin Harvick (190.268 mph), Carl Edwards (189.853 mph), Trevor Bayne (189.587 mph), Paul Menard (189.162 mph) and rookie Chase Elliott (187.963 mph). 

Round 2 

Fords dominated the second round of time trials with Joey Logano setting the pace with a lap of 191.768 mph. Veteran Greg Biffle  (191.625 mph) led the Roush cars with his teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (191.591 mph) running third and Brad Keselowski (191.340 mph) posting the fourth fastest lap. 

Martin Truex Jr.’s Toyota was fifth (191.293 mph) followed by the Chevys of Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson. Trevor Bayne’s lap of 190.948 mph was strong enough for eighth — which marked the first time since the spring race at Texas in 2014 that three Roush Fenway Racing cars transferred into the final round. 

Paul Menard, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Chase Elliott all moved on. 

Kurt Busch, Casey Mears and Danica Patrick took another shot at transfer spots but failed to advance. Busch will start 13th on Sunday

Round 1 

It was the Fords of Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney (191.232 mph) leading the way in the first round of time trials. 

Logano was the 27th car to make a lap. He bumped Kurt Busch (191.184 mph) for the top spot with a lap of 191.327 mph. Blaney rolled off seven cars later and vaulted over Busch for second. 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola, Greg Biffle, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard and Martin Truex Jr rounded out the top 12 drivers. 

Other drivers transferring to the second session of time trials included Jimmie Johnson, Casey Mears, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson, AJ Allmendinger, Trevor Bayne, Danica Patrick and Chris Buescher. 

Quite a few competitive drivers just missed the top 24 including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and Matt Kenseth — all who made second attempts but fell short. 

“Qualifying has been rough on us all year and we showed up pretty far off,” said Earnhardt, whose best lap was 188.851 mph.

NOTE:  The Nos. 43, 48 and 88 lost their pit selections due to multiple warnings issued from failing inspection. Aric Almirola's team failed the laser inspection station (LIS) twice on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Hendrick Motorsports cars of Johnson and Earnhardt were cumulative infractions.

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