NASCAR Cup Series
Starting Lineup: NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 at Martinsville
Oct 28, 2023
With his back against the wall, Martin Truex Jr. scored his second-consecutive pole position and he will lead the field to green in Sunday's penultimate NASCAR Cup Series event of the year at Martinsville Speedway.
Martin Truex Jr. has had some really rough luck throughout the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, but the regular-season champion is still alive in his quest for a second NASCAR Cup Series championship, and he'll start the final race of the Round of 8 from the pole position.
Truex, who has three-career wins at the 0.526-mile Martinsville Speedway, cranked out a lap time of 20.112 sec. (94.153 mph) in the final round of Saturday's qualifying session, which earned him the pole position by 0.008 sec. over his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Ty Gibbs.
This marks the second consecutive pole position for Truex, who started last weekend's event at Homestead-Miami Speedway from the pole. After an engine failure in last week's race, Truex enters the weekend 17 points behind the Playoffs cutline, but he'll be in a prime position to win, or at the very least score enough points to make things interesting on Sunday.
This pole by Truex also marks the eighth pole position for Toyota Racing in the nine NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races this season.
Chase Briscoe will roll from the starting grid from the third starting spot, and he'll be joined in Row 2 by Denny Hamlin, who, like Truex, found trouble in Homestead and will start the weekend 17 points behind the Playoff cutline.
Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace, Christopher Bell, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Preece, and Brad Keselowski will round out the top-10 starters in Sunday's Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
While Saturday's qualifying session marked a great start to the weekend for Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr., who each come into Sunday's Xfinity 500 17 points behind the Playoffs cutline, it wasn't as great for some others that are hoping to contend for a Championship 4 berth.
Ryan Blaney, who comes into the weekend 10 points above the cutline, failed to move into the second round of qualifying. However, Blaney is expected to have one of the best cars on the long run in Sunday's race and he narrowly missed the second round.
Blaney will start the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville from the 11th position.
William Byron was frustrated about his tires chattering during his qualifying run, which relegated the driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to the 16th starting spot for Sunday's race. Byron comes into this race with a 30-point advantage on the Playoff cutline.
Chris Buescher, who faces a must-win situation this weekend if he hopes to advance to Phoenix with a shot at the title, will start from 18th in the No. 17 RFK Racing Ford Mustang.
Tyler Reddick went for a spin on his second lap in Group A qualifying, and as a result, he will start the lowest of the eight remaining Playoff contenders. Reddick will roll from the grid in the 19th starting position.
Here is a video of Reddick's qualifying spin:
Fortunately, Reddick was able to avoid damage in the spin and was able to complete one qualifying lap before he lost control of the car.
Chase Elliott and the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports team still find themselves still alive in the hunt for the NASCAR Cup Series owners championship. Elliott, who will need a win to advance to the Owners Championship 4 this weekend, will start from the 14th position.
Photo Credit: Gavin Baker, LAT Images, Courtesy of Toyota Racing