Brushing off concerns after NASCAR confiscated parts from his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team earlier in the day, Martin Truex Jr. won the pole for Sunday's Hellman's 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Saturday qualifying.
Truex insisted that what occurred when NASCAR seized a front jack bolt from his team “wasn't a big issue.” But he did consider it a big deal that he is going to be starting up front in Sunday's Chase for the Sprint Cup elimination race at treacherous Talladega.
“It's definitely the place to be to start the race. I think the key is just to stay there as long as you can,” Truex said.
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Truex narrowly edged Brad Keselowski for the pole. Matt Kenseth, Chase Elliott and Greg Biffle rounded out the top five and will line up behind the Truex-Keselowski front row.
“It’s good to qualify up front,” said Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford. “I think it’s a good confidence boost. I feel like when we have cars that qualify well here, we race well.”
Also making the final round of the two-round, single-car qualifying session were Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who will roll off the grid in sixth Sunday, Kurt Busch (seventh), Denny Hamlin (eighth), Austin Dillon (ninth), Paul Menard (10th) and Trevor Bayne (11th).
Surprisingly, Reed Sorenson was fastest in the first round of qualifying, beating out the likes of Chaser Carl Edwards from Joe Gibbs Racing. Edwards failed to advance to the second round and will start 13th in Sunday’s race. Sorenson ended up being the slowest of the 12 drivers to make the final round and will start in 12th.
Truex did not seem worried about any possible forthcoming penalties from NASCAR regarding the parts that were confiscated Saturday.
“It wasn't a hollow jack screw, like some people were saying on Twitter,” Truex said. “It was just a part that was machined a little bit wrong, I guess, is what the team told me. And they don't think it's a big issue. Obviously it has not affected our speed any.”
For complete qualifying results that set Sunday's row-by-row starting lineup, see below.