News & Media

Truex on Dover pole, alongside Chaser Kurt Busch

October 01, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service,

DOVER, Del. -- Martin Truex Jr. returned to the site of his only Cup Series victory and found success again Saturday afternoon, winning the pole for Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway.

Truex, who claimed his first Coors Light Pole Award of the season and the sixth of his career, will start the third race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup next to Kurt Busch, the highest qualifying driver eligible for the championship.

* Out Front with Miss Coors Light: Rachel with Martin

Truex turned a lap at 159.004 mph (22.641 seconds) to edge Busch (158.983 mph) for the top starting spot. Paul Menard (158.667 mph) qualified third, followed by Chase drivers Carl Edwards (158.555 mph) and Kyle Busch (158.548 mph).

Chase leader Tony Stewart will start 28th. Kevin Harvick, second in the standings, seven points behind Stewart, starts 22nd.

Dover is the home track of Truex, a New Jersey native, and in this case, familiarity breeds excellence. His lone victory in the Cup Series came at Dover on June 4, 2007 -- also from the pole.

"I feel like I understand what it takes to get around the place," Truex said of the high-banked, 1-mile concrete oval. "I think, in the end, I've just been fortunate enough to have good race cars here. I love coming here. It's a really, really challenging and difficult race track, and if you don't like it, it's one of those places that you're never going to figure out, and it's going to be difficult for you.

"I really enjoy the place, and I've had really good race cars, too. I can't really put my finger on it, but, hopefully on Sunday we can go back to Victory Lane. It's been a while. We've been close a bunch of times, but I feel good that we can get back there this weekend."

Busch said crew chief Steve Addington made important adjustments to the No. 22 Dodge after a thunderstorm on Friday night washed rubber from the racetrack.

"I remember in years past that, when the track would be fresh from a rainstorm, that [the car] would be on the looser side, but with this new [car], with the way it reacts, I knew from the way things panned out that we would be on the tight side of things [Saturday] morning," Busch said.

"When you're on the tight side at the Monster Mile, it gives you a little bit of comfort, but, at the same time, you don't have the speed. So we loosened the car up this morning, anticipating the track coming to us. That's just a sign of a team that's confident in their equipment, to make that kind of adjustment, even without much practice."

In addition to the Busches, Edwards, Harvick and Stewart, the rest of the Chase drivers will start as follows: five-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson, sixth; Denny Hamlin, 11th; Brad Keselowski, 15th; Matt Kenseth, 18th; Ryan Newman, 20th; Dale Earnhardt Jr., 21st; and Jeff Gordon, 34th.

* Qualifying the Chasers: Dover