Truex Wins Second Straight Pole of 2018 at Fontana

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FONTANA, CA – RIS – Martin Truex, Jr. won the pole for Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway on Friday.  The driver of the No. 78 car won his second straight pole posting a time of 38.59 seconds to earn the front spot.

"First time ever," Truex told FS1 after qualifying. "It's definitely really cool, just proud of everybody. We tried to stay on scuffs (tires) in that first practice, ran our best lap on scuffs this morning. Thought that played into our hands a little bit here in qualifying. Round 2, I got the seam a little bit and lost some time and that bit me. Luckily in the third round was able to put a lap together. Wouldn’t say it was perfect, but it was a pretty solid lap.” 

Kyle Busch qualified second as he will pursue his fourth victory in Fontana while Kyle Larson was third.

Kevin Harvick, who will go for his fourth straight win to start the year managed to break the course record in the first round with a time of 38.147 seconds, but will start 10th after he struggled on his final qualifying lap.

We expected to show up and have a good day at this particular point,” Harvick said. “When you look at the momentum and confidence everybody has and really everything that we’re doing right now, it just keeps building and you keep feeding off that momentum.”

Chase Elliott was not so lucky. As good as he was last week finishing third in Phoenix, the 22-year-old failed to pass tech and was unable to put out a time on the track. He is one of the favorites to win the race, but if he does so it will have to be a come-from-behind effort.

Failing inspection was a theme of the day, though, as 13 drivers failed to record a time. Jimmie Johnson, who is the all-time win leader in Fontana, did not record a time. In fact, all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers failed to pass inspection.

Those teams Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne, Daniel Suarez, Timmy Hill, Cole Whitt, Ross Chastain and AJ Allmendinger.

All 13 cars will start from the rear Sunday.

1) Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Busch Beer Ford, 38.147, 188.744, 1, 1, 0.000, 0.000
2) Kyle Larson, No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet, 38.193, 188.516, 1, 1, 0.046, 0.046
3) Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota, 38.390, 187.549, 1, 1, 0.243, 0.197
4) Paul Menard, No. 21 Menards/FVP Ford, 38.429, 187.359, 1, 1, 0.282, 0.039
5) Erik Jones, No. 20 SiriusXM Toyota, 38.555, 186.746, 1, 1, 0.408, 0.126
6) Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Wurth Ford, 38.583, 186.611, 1, 1, 0.436, 0.028
7) Ryan Blaney, No. 12 PPG Ford, 38.602, 186.519, 1, 1, 0.455, 0.019
8) Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet, 38.616, 186.451, 1, 1, 0.469, 0.014
9) Joey Logano, No. 22 Auto Club of Southern California Ford, 38.622, 186.422, 1, 1, 0.475, 0.006
10) Austin Dillon, No. 3 Dow Coating Chevrolet, 38.690, 186.095, 1, 1, 0.543, 0.068
11) Kurt Busch, No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford, 38.706, 186.018, 1, 1, 0.559, 0.016
12) Kyle Busch, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, 38.847, 185.342, 1, 1, 0.700, 0.141
13) Chris Buescher, No. 37 Healthy Choice Power Bowls Chevrolet, 38.895, 185.114, 1, 1, 0.748, 0.048
14) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, No. 43 Farmer John Chevrolet, 38.965, 184.781, 1, 1, 0.818, 0.070
15) Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Perfomance Plus Ford, 39.034, 184.455, 1, 1, 0.887, 0.069
16) Matt DiBenedetto, No. 32 Can-Am/Wholey Ford, 39.088, 184.200, 1, 1, 0.941, 0.054
17) Ty Dillon, No. 13 Twisted Tea Chevrolet, 39.091, 184.186, 1, 1, 0.944, 0.003
18) Jamie McMurray, No. 1 McDonald's Chevrolet, 39.093, 184.176, 1, 1, 0.946, 0.002
19) David Ragan, No. 38 1000Bowls.com Ford, 39.158, 183.870, 1, 1, 1.011, 0.065
20) Michael McDowell, No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford, 39.215, 183.603, 1, 1, 1.068, 0.057
21) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford Ford, 39.514, 182.214, 1, 1, 1.367, 0.299
22) Gray Gaulding, No. 23 Earthwater Toyota, 40.549, 177.563, 1, 1, 2.402, 1.035
23) Jeffrey Earnhardt, No. 00 VRX Simulators Chevrolet, 40.899, 176.043, 1, 1, 2.752, 0.350
24) Reed Sorenson, No. 55*  Chevrolet, 53.838, 133.735, 1, 1, 15.691, 12.939
25) Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, -----
26) Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, -----
27) Aric Almirola, No. 10 Smithfield Ford, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, -----
28) Alex Bowman, No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, -----
29) William Byron #, No. 24 AXALTA Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, -----
30) Daniel Suarez, No. 19 ARRIS Toyota, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, -----
31) Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, -----
32) AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Kroger ClickList Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, -----
33) Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, -----
34) Kasey Kahne, No. 95 WRL General Contractors Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, -----
35) Timmy Hill(i), No. 51 Bubba Burgers Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, -----
36) Ross Chastain(i), No. 15 LowT Center Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, -----
37) Cole Whitt, No. 72 SoCal Chevy Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, ----- 

Qualifying Round 2
Pos, Driver, Car, Time, Speed, Lap #, # Laps, -Fastest, -Next
1) Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Busch Beer Ford, 38.355, 187.720, 1, 1, 0.000, 0.000
2) Kyle Busch, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, 38.411, 187.446, 1, 1, 0.056, 0.056
3) Kyle Larson, No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet, 38.491, 187.057, 1, 1, 0.136, 0.080
4) Kurt Busch, No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford, 38.533, 186.853, 1, 1, 0.178, 0.042
5) Ryan Blaney, No. 12 PPG Ford, 38.582, 186.616, 1, 1, 0.227, 0.049
6) Joey Logano, No. 22 Auto Club of Southern California Ford, 38.614, 186.461, 1, 1, 0.259, 0.032
7) Chris Buescher, No. 37 Healthy Choice Power Bowls Chevrolet, 38.677, 186.157, 1, 1, 0.322, 0.063
8) Erik Jones, No. 20 SiriusXM Toyota, 38.683, 186.128, 1, 1, 0.328, 0.006
9) Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota, 38.686, 186.114, 1, 1, 0.331, 0.003
10) Austin Dillon, No. 3 Dow Coating Chevrolet, 38.749, 185.811, 1, 1, 0.394, 0.063
11) Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet, 38.820, 185.471, 1, 1, 0.465, 0.071
12) Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Wurth Ford, 38.892, 185.128, 1, 1, 0.537, 0.072
13) Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Perfomance Plus Ford, 38.973, 184.743, 1, 1, 0.618, 0.081
14) Paul Menard, No. 21 Menards/FVP Ford, 39.004, 184.596, 1, 1, 0.649, 0.031
15) Jamie McMurray, No. 1 McDonald's Chevrolet, 39.106, 184.115, 1, 1, 0.751, 0.102
16) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford Ford, 39.169, 183.819, 1, 1, 0.814, 0.063
17) Ty Dillon, No. 13 Twisted Tea Chevrolet, 39.198, 183.683, 1, 1, 0.843, 0.029
18) Matt DiBenedetto, No. 32 Can-Am/Wholey Ford, 39.259, 183.397, 1, 1, 0.904, 0.061
19) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, No. 43 Farmer John Chevrolet, 39.377, 182.848, 1, 1, 1.022, 0.118
20) Gray Gaulding, No. 23 Earthwater Toyota, 41.105, 175.161, 1, 1, 2.750, 1.728
21) David Ragan, No. 38 1000Bowls.com Ford, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, -----
22) Michael McDowell, No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, -----
23) Jeffrey Earnhardt, No. 00 VRX Simulators Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, -----
24) Reed Sorenson, No. 55*  Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000, 0, 0, -----, -----

Qualifying Round 3
Pos, Driver, Car, Time, Speed, Lap #, # Laps, -Fastest, -Next
1) Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota, 38.592, 186.567, 1, 1, 0.000, 0.000
2) Kyle Busch, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, 38.619, 186.437, 1, 1, 0.027, 0.027
3) Kyle Larson, No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet, 38.683, 186.128, 1, 1, 0.091, 0.064
4) Erik Jones, No. 20 SiriusXM Toyota, 38.700, 186.047, 1, 1, 0.108, 0.017
5) Austin Dillon, No. 3 Dow Coating Chevrolet, 38.770, 185.711, 1, 1, 0.178, 0.070
6) Joey Logano, No. 22 Auto Club of Southern California Ford, 38.798, 185.577, 1, 1, 0.206, 0.028
7) Kurt Busch, No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford, 38.880, 185.185, 1, 1, 0.288, 0.082
8) Ryan Blaney, No. 12 PPG Ford, 38.903, 185.076, 1, 1, 0.311, 0.023
9) Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet, 38.951, 184.848, 1, 1, 0.359, 0.048
10) Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Busch Beer Ford, 39.038, 184.436, 1, 1, 0.446, 0.087
11) Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Wurth Ford, 39.054, 184.360, 1, 1, 0.462, 0.016
12) Chris Buescher, No. 37 Healthy Choice Power Bowls Chevrolet, 39.058, 184.341, 1, 1, 0.466, 0.004

Starting Line Up - 22nd Annual Auto Club 400 - Auto Club Speedway
Pos, Driver, Car, Time, Speed
1) Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota, 38.592, 186.567
2) Kyle Busch, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, 38.619, 186.437
3) Kyle Larson, No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet, 38.683, 186.128
4) Erik Jones, No. 20 SiriusXM Toyota, 38.700, 186.047
5) Austin Dillon, No. 3 Dow Coating Chevrolet, 38.770, 185.711
6) Joey Logano, No. 22 Auto Club of Southern California Ford, 38.798, 185.577
7) Kurt Busch, No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford, 38.880, 185.185
8) Ryan Blaney, No. 12 PPG Ford, 38.903, 185.076
9) Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet, 38.951, 184.848
10) Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Busch Beer Ford, 39.038, 184.436
11) Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Wurth Ford, 39.054, 184.360
12) Chris Buescher, No. 37 Healthy Choice Power Bowls Chevrolet, 39.058, 184.341
13) Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Perfomance Plus Ford, 38.973, 184.743
14) Paul Menard, No. 21 Menards/FVP Ford, 39.004, 184.596
15) Jamie McMurray, No. 1 McDonald's Chevrolet, 39.106, 184.115
16) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford Ford, 39.169, 183.819
17) Ty Dillon, No. 13 Twisted Tea Chevrolet, 39.198, 183.683
18) Matt DiBenedetto, No. 32 Can-Am/Wholey Ford, 39.259, 183.397
19) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, No. 43 Farmer John Chevrolet, 39.377, 182.848
20) Gray Gaulding, No. 23 Earthwater Toyota, 41.105, 175.161
21) David Ragan, No. 38 1000 Bowls Ford, 39.158, 183.870
22) Michael McDowell, No. 34 Love's Travel Stops Ford, 39.215, 183.603
23) Jeffrey Earnhardt, No. 00 VRX Simulators Chevrolet, 40.899, 176.043
24) Reed Sorenson, No. 55  Chevrolet, 53.838, 133.735
25) Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota, 0.000, 0.000
26) Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford, 0.000, 0.000
27) Aric Almirola, No. 10 Smithfield Ford, 0.000, 0.000
28) Alex Bowman, No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000
29) William Byron #, No. 24 AXALTA Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000
30) Daniel Suarez, No. 19 ARRIS Toyota, 0.000, 0.000
31) Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000
32) AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Kroger ClickList Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000
33) Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000
34) Kasey Kahne, No. 95 WRL General Contractors Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000
35) Timmy Hill(i), No. 51 Bubba Burgers Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000
36) Ross Chastain(i), No. 15 LowT Center Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000
37) Cole Whitt, No. 72 SoCal Chevy Chevrolet, 0.000, 0.000 
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series 

Ron Fleshman with John Davison

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2018, Issue 3, Posted 10:08 PM, 03.16.2018