Brad Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano headed into Sunday’s Xfinity 500, the penultimate race of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, at Martinsville Speedway with his advancement to the championship four at Phoenix Raceway already secured. Keselowski begins his bid to join his teammate in the championship finale from the pole at Martinsville.
“I think there are other paths [to advance], but I think we’ve got a great shot at winning,” Keselowski said. “I’m looking at starting from the pole. That’s a good feeling, and then, I’m thinking about, obviously, the speed we’ve had to date on the short tracks, and all those things combined, I feel pretty good.”
Logano, meanwhile, will start seventh.
Keselowski will share the front row Sunday with Martin Truex Jr. winner of the two most recent races at Martinsville. Truex’s second-place starting positions follows a second-place finish in Wednesday’s delayed race at Texas Motor Speedway.
“It definitely gives us confidence,” Truex said of his past success at Martinsville. “Any time we are going into a track where we have had past success, it’s good. We’ve got notes to work off of from the spring race. It’s been good to us lately, but anything can happen at a short track. Just trying to be as prepared as we can, I think. The guys are ready, and we are going to do the best job we can and, hopefully, continue the success we have had there.”
Truex finished second at Texas to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch Busch. Busch, though, already eliminated from the playoffs, will start ninth at Martinsville, behind the eight drivers still in title contention.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Busch said. “I felt like, through the middle part of the race, once we got everything sorted out from the start of the race, there, in the first Martinsville, we were pretty good. We ran lap times comparable. We actually ran with the 19 [Truex] for much of a couple runs, and I was just trying to stay out of his way, because he was on the lead lap. So I felt like we were as good as he was. He, obviously, won the race, so I feel like there’s a chance that, given, if we can make it through the first set of tires without going a lap down, then we’ll be okay, and I think we could have a shot to win there, too, with our M&Ms Camry.”
Alex Bowman and Denny Hamlin will start in the second row, in the third and fourth positions on the grid, Sunday. Kurt Busch will start fifth. Kevin Harvick will start sixth, next to Busch in row three, while Logano will share the fourth row with Chase Elliott.
“Coming into that last opportunity, that ‘last chance Sunday’ as I’ve called it the last couple of years, I’m looking forward to it,” Elliott said. “I think the more that you can embrace that moment and embrace that situation and really enjoy that time, the better you’ll be prepared for a final four one day, if you ever get there. So that’s kind of the way I feel about it and am really just excited to have the opportunity, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
XFINITY 500 STARTING LINEUP