Martin Truex Jr. won the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after Kyle Larson’s pole-winning time was thrown out after Larson failed post-qualifying inspection. This is the first pole of the season for Truex Jr., who won the last race, which was the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway last weekend.
Larson swept all three rounds of qualifying before NASCAR officials discovered an unapproved rear deck fin on his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. They subsequently ruled the time invalid and bumped Truex Jr. up to the top spot after he finished second.
“Not the way we wanted to get our first pole of the year,” Truex Jr. said in a statement from Furniture Row Racing. “But looking forward to starting front and having a good pit selection.”
He will be joined on the front row by Jimmie Johnson, who finished with a speed of 132.688 MPH. The rest of the top five will consist of Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, and Kasey Kahne, who will start from the fifth position.
The only caution of the entire event came with two minutes left in the first round when David Ragan spun out in turn one shortly after exiting the pits. He ended up suffering no damage and will start the race from the 32nd position.
Joe Gibbs Racing looks for first win of season
Erik Jones, who has been rumored to be getting ready to move into another car next year, will start from the sixth position, with teammate Kyle Busch starting in seventh. Rounding out the top-10 will be Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, and Brad Keselowski. Jones, Busch, and Hamlin are looking to pick up Joe Gibbs Racing’s first win of the season at the track where teammate Kenseth is the defending race winner.
Aric Almirola will start the race in the 21st position in his first race back after suffering a back injury in a horrific crash at Kansas. “It felt great to be back in the race car yesterday,” Almirola said on Wednesday after taking part in a test at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “After racing in the Monster Energy Series for five and a half years, it got to be routine, and I took it for granted.
“When something gets taken away from you at a moment’s notice like that, it has certainly made me appreciate my passion for racing and my desire to compete at this level. The thrill of running 200 miles per hour in a stock car was something that I had honestly lost a little bit. After being out of the car for eight weeks, the passion is back, now more than ever."
The drivers will get two more practice sessions on Saturday before the green flag drops on Sunday at 2:20 p.m. ET. VAVEL NASCAR will have coverage throughout the weekend.