WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. Martin Truex Jr. finished fourth in Saturday night’s qualifying session at Watkins Glen International and will line up the No. 78 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota on the outside of Row 2 for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race.
Truex lapped the 7-turn 2.45-mile road course in 70.418 seconds at 125.252 mph in the second and final round of qualifying. The Mayetta, N.J. native will be attempting to repeat his Watkins Glen International victory last season.
Truex finished fourth in the first round with a lap of 70.779 at 124.613. It was his second attempt after the first go-round left him outside the top 12 that transferred to the pole round.
“Good recovery there for us,” said Truex. “Man, we just barely snuck out there to get out that second time in the first round, which was critical. Basically if you look at it, it was a gain from 16th to fourth and just being able to get out there - really happy with that.
“First round I was really loose and you know I just couldn’t drive it hard enough to put down the lap time that I wanted, but we got better from there. That last run was really good – a nice put together lap. I was just a little too loose getting into turn one and I lost some time there, but it stuck and then I felt pretty good about it. Good starting spot for tomorrow for the 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota so we’ll see if we can go back to back.”
Denny Hamlin won the provisional pole. The balance of the top-12 qualifiers were Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Truex, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, AJ Allmendinger, Erik Jones, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Blaney, and Michael McDowell.
The official qualifying results will be determined after post-qualifying inspection takes place Sunday morning.
Coverage of Sunday’s 90-lap, 220.5-mile race will air live beginning at 12:30 p.m. MT (2:30 p.m. ET) on NBC, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN.