LAS VEGAS – Just as he did two races ago, Ryan Truex found his way to the top of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying charts, earning the pole Saturday afternoon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Carrying the colors of older brother Martin Truex Jr.’s foundation aboard his No. 16 Toyota, the younger Truex led both knockout rounds during Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, posting a time of 30.475 seconds (177.194 mph) in the final round to score his second-career series pole and first at Las Vegas.
Truex is hoping to become the 11th different winner in the last 11 Las Vegas Truck races.
“I just held it wide open both times out,” Truex said. “This is the same truck we sat on the pole with at Chicagoland a couple of weeks ago. I was confident in what we had and had no worries going in; just held it wide open and hoped for the best.”
“To put this truck on the pole with these colors is really special, but I’ve got to win still. That’s the last box I haven’t been able to check. I’ve gotten stage wins, I’ve led laps, I’ve gotten poles, but the win has just eluded us. Hopefully that changes tonight. It would be huge, especially with this paint scheme on the truck here in Las Vegas.”
Defending series champion Johnny Sauter timed in second-fastest (30.523/176.916) for GMS Racing, and will join Truex on the front row as he chases his second win in the last three races and second at Las Vegas.
Rookie Chase Briscoe was the fastest Ford driver in third (30.529/176.881), giving all three manufacturers representation among the top three spots on the grid, with points leader Christopher Bell and Matt Crafton filling out the top five.
Ben Rhodes timed in sixth-fastest, with Austin Cindric, Justin Haley, Myatt Snider, Grant Enfinger, Stewart Friesen and Cody Coughlin completing the dozen drivers who advanced through both knockout rounds.
Hometown favorite Noah Gragson was the first driver below the cut line to advance to the final round, qualifying 13th (30.781/175.433) with the No. 18 Switch Toyota.
Playoff contenders Kaz Grala (14th) and John Hunter Nemechek (15th) also went out in round one, giving both young guns an uphill climb as they hope to score points and advance further in the playoffs.
“I was surprised, honestly,” Grala said of his truck’s lack of qualifying speed. “Our truck drove really well, and if (crew chief) Jerry (Baxter) had told me we were P1 (after the run) I’d have believed him, but obviously it was terrible. I’m optimistic, though! Last year, Tyler Reddick started 16th and was leading by the first caution, so hopefully we can do something similar to that later during the race tonight.”
Travis Pastrana will start 18th in his NASCAR return with Niece Motorsports, while former Las Vegas winner Timothy Peters qualified a disappointing 20th in his first start with Young’s Motorsports.
The Las Vegas 350 kicks off at 8 p.m. ET, live on FOX Sports 1, the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
Full qualifying results can be viewed on the next page…