Truex nabs NASCAR pole at Kansas Speedway

By Dave Skretta

AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Martin Truex Jr. will start on the pole Saturday night in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway.

Truex turned a lap of 190.921 mph in the final round of qualifying Friday night, earning his first pole, since April 2012 at Texas, and giving himself some confidence at a track he’s come to love.

Truex led 173 of 267 laps before finishing second in 2012. He finished second again in that year’s fall race. Last spring, he started fourth and led 95 laps before finishing ninth.

“Feels good to get another pole. It’s been a long time,” said Truex, who once had the pole for an Xfinity race at Kansas. “We’ve been really close with our Furniture Row team the past two years, qualified second a handful of times and been right there. Really proud of everyone.”

Matt Kenseth qualified second at 190.564 mph. Denny Hamlin was third, followed by Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski. Points leader Kevin Harvick failed to make it out of the first round and will start 26th.

“Hopefully, the extra time we spent in race trim pays off for us,” Harvick said.

Before locking up his third front-row start of the season, news spread that Kenseth and Joey Logano had shared a phone call this week to cool off what had been a roiling feud between the drivers.

It began in earnest last fall at Kansas, when Logano bumped Kenseth out of the way with five laps remaining to win the race. Kenseth retaliated a couple weeks later at Martinsville, driving Logano into the wall, and the two had more words during last week’s wreck-filled race at Talladega.

Whatever was said during their phone call, Kenseth had no desire to recount it.

“If there was,” he said, “I would have made it a conference call.”

Kyle Busch will start sixth on Saturday night, followed by Ryan Blaney, Ryan Newman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne. Logano qualified 14th, just ahead of Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart.

“It just seems like it’s such a razor’s edge today with our race car on making it good,” Logano said. “The smallest little bit makes a lot of speed at this race track. We started 14th in the fall here and won, so I’m confident in our car in race trim. It feels very good in race trim.”

By Dave Skretta

AP Sports Writer

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