Martin Truex Jr. qualified sixth for Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway. He will start the 400 lapper from the outside of Row 3.
Truex was steady in Friday’s knockout qualifying, advancing to the 12-driver pole-shootout round by posting the ninth and second fastest speeds respectively in the first two rounds.
Truex’s No. 78 Tanger Outlets Toyota Camry recorded times and speeds of 21.874 seconds at 123.434 mph (first round), 21.958 at 122.962 (second round) and 22.123 at 122.045 (final round).
“We were in good shape after the second round and really felt like we had a shot at the pole,” said Truex. “We made a little adjustment but the car just got tight and felt like the track slowed down more than I expected. I then overdrove the car trying to make up some time. The times are so close here, but all in all we’ve had a great day with Tanger Outlets on our Toyota. Hopefully we’ll give them a good run here tomorrow night.”
The pole winner was Denny Hamlin (22.069 at 122.344). Rounding out the top 12 in order were: Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Kurt Busch, Truex, Kasey Kahne, Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Joey Logano.
Richmond is the final pre-Chase race. NASCAR’s version of the playoffs starts Sunday Sept. 18 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Truex has already clinched a Chase berth, but several spots are still up for grabs heading into the final race before the Chase.
Saturday’s night’s Cup race will be televised on the NBC Sports Network, starting at 5:30 p.m. MT (7:30 ET).