MARTIN TRUEX/No.1 Chevrolet has the pole for Sunday’s Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. His lap of 26.643/135.120 mph was not a new track record. That honor is still held by RYAN NEWMAN, set in November 2004. Truex was close, but could not equal Newman’s time of 26.499/135.854 mph.
Friday’s pole was the third this season for Truex, and his first one at Phoenix in his eight races on the one-mile speedway.
Runner-up was KURT BUSCH/No.2 Dodge, followed by points leader JIMMIE JOHNSON/No.48 Chevrolet, KASEY KAHNE/No.9 Dodge and DENNY HAMLIN/No.11 Toyota.
Truex said “It was a good lap for us. We only made two qualifying runs in practice. The car was really good right there, I was happy with it. I wasn’t sure it was that fast. Surprising that we were faster on the first lap than the second.”
MAX PAPIS/No. was the top Rookie, coming in twenty-third fastest.
The three drivers who failed to make the show were: REGAN SMITH/No.78 Chevrolet, KEVIN CONWAY/No.70 Chevrolet; and BRANDON ASH/No.02 Dodge.
Chevrolet has 16 drivers in the Cup race, Toyota has 13, Ford has eight and Dodge has six. Chevrolet had two DNQ and Dodge had one.
Johnson was asked, because of the TMS race crash, if he was feeling vulnerable and if there were drivers he wouldn’t want to be around.
“Yeah, I mean, there’s definitely a handful of guys that you’re concerned about. But in the end, when you’re on a short track like this, you’d lap through people and you’re in traffic so often, the double-file restarts, it’s not so much a car number or a person, it’s kind of the situation.
“I don’t think, you know, anybody’s really safe, especially how you can run side-by-side here in one and two, one line is preferred, three and four another is preferred. It’s going to be tough to get single-file.
“So I do have concern and worry about contact or something out of my control taking place again. I mean, I think we all fear that. But I find some confidence knowing that everybody’s going to deal with that. I don’t think lightning can strike two weeks in a row. I’m certainly hoping it doesn’t. “