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For the second straight week, Kyle Larson will start on the pole for a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event.

He can only hope the result of the race is the same, too.

Last week, Larson won the pole at Auto Club Speedway and went on to win last Sunday’s race at the two-mile track.

On Friday, when rain washed out time trials at Martinsville Speedway, Larson earned the top starting spot for Sunday’s STP 500 (2 p.m. ET on FS1) on the basis of owner points. However, Larson will have to overcome his own history at the .526-mile track.

True, Larson finished third in the Martinsville spring race a year ago, but that was likely an aberration. In six career starts his average result there is 22.5, with no other top 10s.

“It definitely helps to start up front,” said Larson, the only driver to earn points in the first two stages of all five races this season. “I think this will be my most difficult track probably to earn stage points in each of the stages, just because it’s not a track that suits me that well.

“This is the toughest track for me, so it’s cool to be the only guy that has made points every stage. I think the stage points are a big deal to gain points and help point your way to the playoffs if need be. So, yeah, it’s been nice to run so strong early in the year, especially all throughout the race because, like I said, those stage points have turned out to be really big and important.”

Chase Elliott, second to Larson in the series standings will start on the outside of the front row, putting two drivers with dubious results at Martinsville ahead of speed horses Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano in third through fifth, respectively.

“I’m working through a lot of race tracks, for sure,” Elliott said. “Martinsville and Sonoma are, to me, the two that I feel like I need to work on the most. That’s not to say there’s not other places I need to work on. But I think Martinsville and Sonoma are the two places that seemed to give me the most troubles last year.

“So, I’m just trying to work through that. I think some of the things you see here at Martinsville are some of the same things you see at Sonoma, with how tight the corners are and how slow some parts of the race track are. So I think there’s some similarities there; and hopefully, if one can be corrected, the other one will come along with it.”

Logano has won three of the last four contested poles at NASCAR’s oldest track.

Jamie McMurray, Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch will take the green flag from positions six through 10 on the grid, respectively.
 



There were clear skies for practice Friday, but rains moved in later and washed out all activity. Photo by Getty Images for NASCAR


Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

Friday, March 31, 2017

               1. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 1st.

               2. (24) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 2nd.

               3. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 3rd.

               4. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 4th.

               5. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 5th.

               6. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 6th.

               7. (21) Ryan Blaney, Ford, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 7th.

               8. (14) Clint Bowyer, Ford, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 8th.

               9. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 9th.

               10. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 10th.

               11. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 11th.

               12. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 12th.

               13. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 13th.

               14. (41) Kurt Busch, Ford, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 14th.

               15. (77) Erik Jones #, Toyota, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 15th.

               16. (6) Trevor Bayne, Ford, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 16th.

               17. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 17th.

               18. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 18th.

               19. (19) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 19th.

               20. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 20th.

               21. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 21st.

               22. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 22nd.

               23. (13) Ty Dillon #, Chevrolet, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 23rd.

               24. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 24th.

               25. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 25th.

               26. (95) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 26th.

               27. (34) Landon Cassill, Ford, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 27th.

               28. (32) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 28th.

               29. (10) Danica Patrick, Ford, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 29th.

               30. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 30th.

               31. (72) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 31st.

               32. (15) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 32nd.

               33. (37) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 33rd.

               34. (38) David Ragan, Ford, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 34th.

               35. (83) * Corey LaJoie #, Toyota, Open Team – 2017 Owner Points 36th.

               36. (33) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 37th.

               37. (23) Gray Gaulding #, Toyota, Charter Team – 2017 Owner Points 38th.

               38. (51) * Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, Open Team – 2017 Owner Points 40th.
 


Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying Results – STP 500

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By Reid Spencer NASCAR Wire Service






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