Martin Truex Jr. grabs his first JGR pole at New Hampshire

LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE - JULY 16: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Interstate Batteries Toyota, points to his signature on the Busch Light Pole Award backdrop after winning the pole award for the NASCAR Cup Series Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 16, 2022 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Martin Truex Jr., 42, earned his first pole position in four seasons, taking the top starting spot in Saturday qualifying with a lap of 127.113 mph at the one-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

He’ll start the No. 19 JGR Toyota in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Ambetter 301 (3 p.m. ET, USA Network, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) alongside last week’s race winner, Chase Elliott in the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Truex last started on pole at Kentucky Speedway in 2018 – one of two race wins from pole in the last three times he’s started out front. Another showing like that this week would be key for Truex, who is still racing for his first victory in 2022. His best showing a fourth place at Richmond, 13 races ago.

It’s the second pole position for Truex at New Hampshire – last earning the top starting spot in his 2017 championship season – and 20th pole position of his career.

Kurt Busch and his 23XI Racing teammate Bubba Wallace will start their Toyotas on the second row, followed by another Toyota, JGR’s Christopher Bell, who has three Xfinity Series wins at the track and finished runner-up to Aric Almirola in last year’s NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire.

Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron – who was fastest in practice – qualified sixth, followed by the defending winner Almirola, reigning series champion Kyle Larson, two-time New Hampshire race winner Brad Keselowski and four-time New Hampshire winner Kevin Harvick.

It’s the best start for Keselowski, in his first year as co-owner of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Keselowski Ford, since a third-place qualifying effort at Daytona – his only other top-10 start of the season.

Photos: NASCAR at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sat. July 16, 2022