FORT WORTH, Texas – Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. claimed pole position Friday for the NASCAR Sprint Cup event Saturday, with history suggesting it will be the Roush Fenway drivers that he has to beat.
It was Truex’s seventh career pole and second at Texas, where he finished third five years ago.
Qualifying right behind Truex were the Roush Fords driven by Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle.
Kenseth has led more laps than anybody in Texas. Current points leader Biffle has seven consecutive top-10 finishes here. Teammate Carl Edwards, who qualified 20th, is the only three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup winner at the high-banked track.
“I don’t really know why, but it has been a pretty good track for us in the past,” said Kenseth, who has two wins and 13 top-10 finishes in 19 starts. “Whenever you come back to a track you’ve had success at, then you probably always look forward to coming back to it maybe a little bit more.”
Owner Jack Roush was winning races at Texas Motor Speedway even before his current trio of drivers. He has been to Victory Lane and gathered quite a collection of winning cowboy hats by taking eight of 22 races.
Jeff Burton won the inaugural Texas race in 1997 driving for Roush, and Mark Martin won the following year when there was still only one Cup race a year at the track.
All three Roush drivers Saturday night had top-five finishes in both Texas races last year.
“It is a fun race track for me and for our team,” said Biffle, who had a win in 2005, three years before his stretch of top-10 finishes started.
Kenseth ended a two-year drought with a dominating victory last spring. He led 169 of 334 laps, upping his career laps led to 756 and his average finish to 8.73, both track bests.
The Roush team is smaller this season, down from four cars to three.
Biffle, the relaxed points leader coming off a Bahamas vacation last week, started this season finishing third in each of the first three races. He hasn’t finished lower than 13th.
Kasey Kahne, the first-year Hendrick driver, starts fifth in Texas. Johnson qualified 10th, Earnhardt 16th and Jeff Gordon 34th. — AP