Martin Truex, Jr. to Start from Pole at Pocono

With more than a tenth of a second in the bank, Martin Truex, Jr. captured the pole for Sunday's Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway. At a time of 179.244 mph, the No. 78 car picked up its third pole of 2016, the other two came at 1.5- mile race tracks, in which he dominated, including a race-winning effort during the Coca-Cola 600. 

In 21 career starts at the Tricky Triangle, Truex has one career win, coming last year when he was out front for 97 circuits. In June, the No. 78 car faced many problems, including a wreck on pit road that ended the day in 19th. 

"It's exciting for us," Truex said of his pole for Furniture Row Racing. "Anytime you win anything in this series, it's a big deal. Getting a pole today is awesome. We had a game plan coming here, but we felt like we needed to qualify well for Sunday and we were able to do that."

For the second straight week, Carl Edwards will lineup alongside the pole-sitter in the second position. The No. 19 car posted a lap at 178.873 mph, which was best among the Joe Gibbs Racing organization. 

After recording the fastest lap in practice, Paul Menard will start a season-best third at 178.671 mph. The No. 27 team is being led by Danny Stockman, a veteran crew chief for the first time at Pocono, hoping to turn the teams season around. 

"I've worked with Danny [Stockman] for basically a year and a half now," Menard said. "It's just a different perspective from Justin [Alexander]. Justin is a smart guy. we just needed to change something up and make a spark. We threw Danny into the fire and it's worked well." 

Four-time Pocono winner, Denny Hamlin will start Sunday from the fourth position (178.540 mph). Ryan Newman rounded out the top five (178.433 mph), marking the second Richard Childress Racing car in the top five. 

Including Austin Dillon, who qualified 12th, it marked the first time since August of 2014 at Michigan that all three RCR cars made it to the final round of qualifying. All three cars were among the top 10 in practice Friday afternoon. 

"It was a good day without a doubt for RCR and ECR engines," Newman said. "We had three of the top 10 in practice and two of the top five in qualifying. It should translate over to the race. Track position is important, horsepower, having a good qualifying effort and usually you'll have a good race day." 

Tony Stewart qualified sixth at 178.394 mph, Brad Keselowski was seventh (178.359 mph), Chase Elliott eighth (177.571 mph), defending race-winner Matt Kenseth (177.413 mph) was ninth and Joey Logano (177.151 mph) rounded out the top 10. 

June winner, Kurt Busch turned the 15th fastest lap, alongside his brother Kyle Busch in 16th. Ryan Blaney posted the 18th fastest time, after having the third best time in round one. 

A trio of three Hendrick Motorsports cars will start outside the top 20, starting with Jimmie Johnson in 21st. 2013 winner Kasey Kahne will begin Sunday's race from 23rd and six-time Pocono winner, Jeff Gordon will start his second race back out of retirement in 24th. 

Final practice is set to begin on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. ET. 

Dustin Albino

Dustin is a 20-year-old, currently studying journalism at Ithaca College. Albino has always wanted to report on NASCAR and beginning at the end of 2014 that is exactly what he did with Speedway Digest. Since that time he has become well-known around the garage area and is looking to attend even more races than he did in 2015. 

Twitter: @DustinAlbino
Instagram: @dustin_albino