Ten days ago, Ryan Truex was recovering from an emergency appendectomy surgery. After a remarkable recovery, he’s got his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series pole.
Truex circled Dover International Speedway in 23.264 seconds for an average speed of 154.746 mph, putting him up front for today’s “5-Hour Energy 200” NASCAR Natinonwide Series race. The Mayetta, NJ native, who considers Dover his home track, was understandably excited to be starting from the pole in front of several family and friends.
“From the first lap on the track in practice, we were just fast,” Truex said. “It’s a testament to how hard these guys work in the shop and at the track, and the equipment they gave me. These guys give me the car, I just drive it. They make it fast.”
Just as his brother Martin Truex Jr. did several years ago, Truex is enjoying some personal milestones and early-career success at Dover. His brother made his first NASCAR Nationwide Series start at the Monster Mile and won two races there, and it’s also the site of his only career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win in 2007. Now Ryan Truex is following those footsteps – he won two consecutive NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championships that were wrapped up with wins at Dover, and now has established his first NASCAR Nationwide Series pole at the track.
But it almost didn’t happen. Truex went to a North Carolina hospital in the middle of the night on May 22 with severe abdominal pains, and needed an emergency appendectomy. After the surgery, the disappointment of possibly having to miss the race started to sink in.
“You kind of deal with the pain and you heal quicker,” Truex said. “I thought there was no way I’d be at Dover in 10 days racing, and the plan was to have my brother in the car if I couldn’t race. But I just got a lot of rest and did everything I could to feel better.”
For the third time, Joe Gibbs Racing swept the front row of a NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Dover, as Joey Logano took the second starting spot with an average speed of 154.453 mph. Logano also made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Dover many moons ago and has had some success at the track, but has never won.
“I think it’ll be another good Dover race,” Logano said. “We’ve had a car that could win here the last three or four races, I just haven’t gotten the trophy yet. We have another good shot at it, we just have to limit the mistakes.”
Another notable qualifier was Ty Dillon, Austin Dillon’s younger brother, who will start third in his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut after running a lap of 154.420 mph. Series poins leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. qualified fourth, with Brian Scott, Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaire, Mike Bliss, Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish Jr. rounding out the top 10. Danica Patrick will start 17th.
For the complete starting lineup, click here.
Green flag for the “5-hour ENERGY 200” drops at 2 p.m.