A loose lug nut and the corresponding five-second penalty that went with it cost Martin Truex Jr. an opportunity to compete for the pole position during qualifying for Saturday night’s non-points NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Truex was the fourth of the 16 drivers to attempt to qualify Friday on the 1.5-mile tri-oval in the unique format of three laps at speed and a mandatory pit stop. His initial overall time of 1:12.609 would have been good enough for third quickest to advance to the final round but the five-second penalty moved the No. 78 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry to 14th. Truex will start from the outside of Row 7.
“The loose lug nut was costly and we just have to make it up in the race tomorrow,” said Truex. “I have all the confidence in our team and feel that we’ll have a competitive 5-hour ENERGY Toyota for the main event.”
The pole winner was Kyle Larson. The remaining drivers in the 16-car field, in order, were Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Jamie McMurray, Chris Buescher, Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, Truex, Ryan Newman, and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
The All-Star Race will feature four stages (20 laps / 20 laps / 20 laps / 10 laps), totaling 70 laps. The goal for all competitors is to earn a spot in the final 10-lap, 10-car stage. The winner of each of the first three stages will lock up a spot in the final stage, as long as they remain on the lead lap after the third stage. The cars with the best average finish in the first three stages will make up the remaining spots needed to fill the 10-car final stage.
Erik Jones was quickest in the day’s lone Open practice. The No. 77 SiriusXM Toyota Camry topped the speed charts with a best lap of 28.563 at 189.056. Qualifying for the Open is Saturday at 2:35 p.m. MT (4:35 ET). The 50-lap, 75-mile Open will consist of three stages of 20/20/10 laps (laps 20/40/50). The winner of each stage will transfer to the NASCAR All-Star Race and a shot at the $1 million winner’s purse.
Saturday’s NASCAR All-Star Race will air live beginning at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90 and MRN. The Open race will air live beginning at 6 p.m. ET on FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90 and MRN. Qualifying (multi-car, two rounds) for the Open is scheduled for Saturday at 4:35 p.m. ET.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!