After being worried about entering Pocono Raceway in June, Kyle Larson seems to have figured out the ‘Tricky Triangle.’ Larson set a blistering pace in the final round of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying as he even made a pass around Matt Crafton – providing him a little extra momentum thanks to the draft.
The 22-year-old was inside of the top-two throughout the pair of practice sessions held on Friday. In qualifying, he ran a lap time of 53.282 seconds. After being quickest in the second session in qualifying on Saturday, he picked up the pace by approximately six tenths of a second. Larson will be making his eighth career Truck Series start on Saturday afternoon in the Pocono Mountains 150. This is his second pole of the weekend as he set a track record during qualifying for Sunday's Gobowling.com 400.
Austin Dillon will start alongside Larson during Saturday’s spectacle. Dillon was over a tenth of a second behind Larson’s time. Both drivers are competitors for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and Larson is currently ahead of Dillon as far as points are concerned.
John Wes Townley will not be racing the No. 05 truck for Athenian Motorsports. Townley is going to be held out of competition for a week as a precaution and will be reevaluated in North Carolina early in the coming week. Replacing him is NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer. Bowyer will start the truck in the 10th position. He will not need to go to the rear of the field because he qualified the truck. The 35-year-old will be making his first Truck Series start since Atlanta of 2011.
Both Kyle Busch Motorsports vehicles missed the cut for the final round of qualifying. This is just the fourth time that the team’s championship eligible driver Darrell Wallace Jr. missed the final session of qualifying. Wallace will start in the 15th position. Meanwhile, Erik Jones – making his Pocono debut – will start in the 13th spot.
“We just didn’t get the right toe. We didn’t have enough speed in the second round. We should be just fine for the race with plenty of speed,” Wallace said after qualifying. “The track conditions are really different. We’ve had some down weekends, so I’m not worried about it. That’s (strategy) going to be the biggest thing. If we can get up front and pick up a few positions early, we’ll be just fine.”
Tyler Reddick, Ben Kennedy and Timothy Peters round out the top-five in qualifying. Spencer Gallagher made the top-12 in qualifying for the first time this year, and will start a career-best 12th in Saturday’s race.