PHOENIX (Feb. 28, 2014) – Martin Truex Jr. didn’t fare well in the debut of NASCAR’s new group qualifying format Friday at Phoenix International Raceway.
Truex's No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet SS, which was eighth fastest in the earlier practice session, could only muster the 27th fastest speed in the first round of the knockout competition. The top-12 fastest drivers advanced to the second and final round.
“We had a good car in practice but were really far off in the qualifying session,” explained Truex. “Our Furniture Row Chevrolet was super loose. Not sure what we did, I thought we had a shot at the pole and we ended up 27th. Very disappointing. We just need to be patient on Sunday and work our way to the front.”
Truex’s best time and speed in the 30-minute group session on the 1-mile oval was 26.296 seconds at 136.903 miles per hour.
The pole winner for Sunday’s Profit on CNBC 500 was Brad Keselowski (25.828 at 139.384 mph). Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch.
Sunday’s second Sprint Cup Series race of the season will be televised on FOX, beginning with a 30-minute prerace show at 12:30 p.m. MT.