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April 14th, 2012
Martin Truex Jr claimed Michael Waltrip Racing’s second pole position of the season in qualifying for Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas.
Truex bumped Brad Keselowski’s Penske Dodge from the top spot with a lap of 28.366s. His benchmark stood unbeaten despite both Roush Fenway Ford drivers Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle and Truex’s MWR Toyota team-mate Mark Martin also breaking the 190mph barrier.
The MWR pole of 2012 continues an upwards trend for the squad, which has its two full-time drivers sitting inside the top 10 of the Sprint Cup points table after six races.
Truex, third in the championship, said: “It means a lot for me to get a pole for this guys.
“This is early but we’ve come a long way. We’re starting to gel as a team, we’re starting to get to where we want to be. We’re not there yet, but this is a good step in that direction and hopefully we’ll be standing over here in Victory Lane shooting guns tomorrow [Saturday] night.”
Behind the MWR and Roush duos on the front two rows, Hendrick Motorsport’s Kasey Kahne was fifth and the fastest Chevrolet driver, followed by Martinsville winner Ryan Newman (Stewart Haas), Richard Petty Ford’s Marcos Ambrose and Keselowski. Earnhardt Ganassi’s Jamie McMurray and Hendrick’s Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top 10 in their Chevrolets.
Wood Brothers’ Trevor Bayne had been fastest in the final practice ahead of qualifying and ended up as the best of the non-guaranteed starters in 19th, right ahead of three-time Texas winner Carl Edwards (Roush).
Reigning champion Tony Stewart, the most recent Sprint Cup winner at Texas, had a difficult Friday after hitting the wall early into practice, being forced to a back up car. His Stewart Haas team took a fresh engine ahead of qualifying, so he will start back in 29th.
Track conditions were affected by strong winds all day. These winds, which affected the handling of most cars through Turns 3 and 4, are expected to pick up even more on race day.
David Stremme, Joe Nemechek and Stacy Compton failed to make the field.
Times to follow…