Mile High Sports

Truex Jr. qualifies third for Darlington

Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota bounced back from subpar efforts in the first two rounds to qualify third for Sunday night’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

The Furniture Row Racing driver ran a lap of 28.392 seconds at 173.204 mph on the 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval. He will line up on the inside of Row 2 for the 367-lap, 501.3-mile race.

“Yeah, you know this place is hard on tires, so you try not to abuse them too much,” said Truex.

“We were able to put together a solid lap in those first two rounds – enough to move us on and then it was really all about just trying to get all I could. We weren’t the fastest car by any means, but we were the most consistent and that’s what got us a good starting spot. The Bass Pro Shops/5-hour Energy guys did a good job and it’s a good place to start here and we’ll go get them tomorrow night.”

Truex was 20th in the first round (28.381, 173.271) and ninth in the second round (28.376, 173.301).

Denny Hamlin won the pole (28.332, 173.571). The balance of the top 10 were Kyle Larson, Truex, Alex Bowman, Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Erik Jones Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, William Byron, Chase Elliott, and Aric Almirola.

Live coverage begins Sunday at 4 p.m. MT (6 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN.