Pole victor Kyle Larson tagged with post-qualifying penalty

MARTINSVILLE VA- APRIL 01 Martin Truex Jr. driver of the #78 Furniture Row  Denver Mattress Toyota stands in the garage with his crew chief Cole Pearn during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1

He'll be a top contender to win the Overton's 301.

Matt Kenseth, who is looking for his third win in four New Hampshire races, was ninth fastest (29.236 seconds).

"We've been working on it for a couple of years really", Truex before pole qualifying runs last night.

It got even worse when Larson's pole-winning qualifying time was disallowed - all of which gave Martin Truex Jr., who assumed the lead and a leg-up in the battle for the regular-season title, a lot to smile about.

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Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin tied for second on the leaderboard, posting identical speeds of 130.568 miles per hour. Hamlin's speed came in a back-up vehicle, unloaded after his primary auto was damaged in a crash in opening practice.

"Boy, that had a lot of turn", Elliott said after completing 26 laps.

Aric Almirola, set to make his first start after a seven-race absence because of injury, was 21st-fastest in the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford. The No. 42 sat on pit road when the session went green because the vehicle failed pre-race inspection last week at Kentucky Speedway.

Truex also posted the Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average of 130.094mph followed Ryan Blaney's 129.855mph.

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"I wish I could have him on the box on Sunday, but we will be strong these next few weeks", Larson said.

Kyle Larson, second to Truex in the standings, was also second to Truex on the practice leaderboard, just.001 seconds back at 131.333 miles per hour in the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet. NASCAR ruled that the No. 42 Chevrolet was fitted with an illegal rear deck fin lid.

The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver sits third in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings, 100 markers behind leader Martin Truex Jr.

Hamlin set the quick pace in his second lap of practice with a speed of 130.568mph in the back up vehicle. Officials added to the bottom lane and then extended the top lane with a four-foot wide strip of the traction compound before Saturday's on-track activity.

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