Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NASCAR Notebook; Truex to Start on Front Row at Homestead

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NASCAR Notebook; Truex to Start on Front Row at Homestead

Article excerpt

Byline: Don Coble

HOMESTEAD | Martin Truex Jr. came to Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday ahead of the Ford EcoBoost 400 as the big favorite to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.

There was very little to change that during Friday night's qualifying.

In fact, he may have strengthened his outlook.

A fast lap of 173.952 mph means Truex will start on the outside pole in his the winner-take-all race with Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski in the championship round Sunday.

Denny Hamlin was final driver in time trials and he stole the first starting spot at 173.980 mph.

Truex won six of his series-best seven races on 1.5-mile tracks this year. Since Homestead-Miami is another 1.5-mile layout, everything seems to be lining up for one of the most-popular drivers in the sport.

"That was a bit dramatic," Truex said. "Definitely a really good day. A really good day."

Truex's Final Four competitors will be close when the green flag waves (2:30 p.m., NBC). Busch (173.930 mph) will be third, Keselowski (172.452) will be fifth and Harvick (171.876) will be ninth.

The rest of the top-10 starters will be Matt Kenseth in fifth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in sixth, Kyle Larson in seventh, Kurt Busch in eighth and Daniel Suarez in 10th.

PATRICK PLANS TO DRIVE AT DAYTONA, INDY

Danica Patrick clarified her future plans Friday, saying she only plans to drive in next year's Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500.

Patrick will lose her ride in the No. 10 Ford at Stewart-Haas Racing after Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. She waited until she got to the track before the first practice session to say she will be two-and-done next year.

"I just think that sometimes in your life ... I'm not feeling like I was pushed into this ... I feel like I should be doing this. …

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