Truex Jr Qualifies 13th at Phoenix

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AVONDALE, Ariz. Martin Truex Jr. qualified 13th in the No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.

Truex lapped the 1-mile oval in 26.023 seconds at 138.339 mph in the second round of qualifying, missing the final round by three thousands of a second. He was 21st in the first round after starting from the garage due to passing technical inspection late. The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota will line up on the inside of Row 7 for Sunday’s 312-lap, 500-kilometer race.

“This seems to be kind of par for the course for us lately,” said Truex. “I’d say 13th is a pretty good starting spot for the day we’ve had. We really didn’t get a crack at anything in practice and we didn’t have much time to get ready for qualifying and we were pretty far off. Made some good gains for sure. I wish we could have run again. I definitely felt I could have picked up some more.”

Kevin Harvick won the pole. The balance of the top 12 were, in order: Chase Elliott, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Paul Menard, and Brad Keselowski.

Sunday’s race will be the ninth of the 10-race NASCAR Cup Series playoffs and the cutoff race to determine the Championship 4.

Coverage of Sunday’s race will air live beginning at 12:30 p.m. MT (2:30 p.m. ET) on NBC, SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90 and MRN.