TALLADEGA, Ala. – Martin Truex Jr.'s time during the first round of single-car qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday was disallowed after he dipped below the double-yellow line during his lap.
His lap of 191.762 mph would have been good for 21st in the starting lineup but instead he will start from the back of the field in 43rd for Sunday’s CampingWorld.com 500 at Talladega (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM).
"We didn't make qualifying runs in practice or anything so we really didn't know what we had and honestly ran faster than we thought we would have," Truex said. "Good job by the team, obviously, preparing the car.
"The double-yellow line deal, I just didn't know anything about it. So, Cole (Pearn, crew chief) said, 'Sorry, guess I should have told you the change.' Just one of those memos that I didn't get, so a little confused there."
NASCAR ruled in July prior to the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway that drivers' qualifying times at superspeedways would be disallowed if they passed below the double-yellow line. However, Daytona's qualifying rainout meant the rule premiered this weekend at Talladega, the next restrictor-plate race on the Sprint Cup schedule.
Because of the disqualification, the No. 78 team will have the last choice for pit stall selection. Nonetheless, the mistake isn't detrimental to the No. 78 team, who had strategized they would ride in the back from the start.
"We kinda planned to ride in the back for the first part anyways, so it makes it a lot easier to get back there," Pearn said in the garage.
"… At some point, we'll have to make a transition to the front, especially if it gets into a track position game. But we kind of thought it might be smart for a bit at the start, just to make sure the game doesn't change somehow early in the going. Makes it an easier decision now."