With Martin Truex Junior’s victory Sunday night in the Coca-Cola 600, the list of Sprint Cup Series winners this season grows to eight. If there are nine more drivers who reach Victory Lane over the final thirteen regular-season races, then there’ll be one driver with a race win to his credit that will not get a spot on the 2016 Chase Grid – which will include only the sixteen top eligible drivers based primarily on race wins. There are three drivers who won last year but are still without a victory in 2016: Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Junior and Joey Logano.
There are thirty-nine drivers on the preliminary entry list for next weekend’s Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400 at Pocono Raceway led by defending winner Truex and regular-season points leader Kevin Harvick.
Next stop, Charlotte Motor Speedway for Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600, which marks the halfway point of the 2016 regular season. Martin Truex Junior will start the four hundred-lap marathon from the pole position after topping Thursday night’s qualifying session with a lap of 192.328 miles per hour in the Number-78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota. He’ll share the front row with Joey Logano, who was second-quick at 192.007 miles per hour. Ricky Stenhouse Junior qualified third with Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski – Logano’s Team Penske teammate – rounding out the top five. Defending race winner Carl Edwards will start ninth. It’s Truex’s ninth career pole and second this season. He qualified Number-1 at Kansas Speedway earlier this month and finished fourteenth in the Go Bowling 400.
The pole sitter has won the “Six Hundred” just twice over the last seventeen years, both times by Jimmie Johnson – in 2004 and 2014 … Earlier on Thursday, Kurt Busch led opening practice with Johnson, Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson filling positions two through five. Kyle Busch had the best average speed over ten consecutive laps at 185.465 miles per hour … Logano is hoping to complete a sweep of the May events in Charlotte. He won last weekend’s All-Star Race.
The last driver to win both in the same season is Kurt Busch in 2010.
With his victory in Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race, Team Penske’s Joey Logano will now look to join a fairly exclusive group of NASCAR drivers with another victory this coming weekend in the Coca-Cola 600.
Since 1985, the first year of the All-Star Race, just seven drivers have won both events in the same season: Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Darrell Waltrip and Kurt Busch – the last driver to do it, in 2010. Logano tops the preliminary entry list for NASCAR’s longest race that also includes defending winner Carl Edwards and regular-season points leader Kevin Harvick.
Last year, Denny Hamlin finished eighth in his bid to sweep the two May races at C-M- S.