Martin Truex Jr. finished the 2017 Cup season with the championship and his name at the top of almost every significant stat category, including laps led, top fives, top 10s, race wins and stage wins.
But there was one stat that Truex wasn’t even close to leading the series in.
When it came to the number of poles Truex claimed in his title campaign, the No. 78 Toyota bested the field just three times in the season’s 34 qualifying sessions (out of 36 races).
It was Kyle Busch‘s eight poles, a career-best, that led the series. Joe Gibbs Racing led all teams with 12 poles.
Busch led Kevin Harvick (four), Kyle Larson (three), Truex and Brad Keselowski (two) among the 14 drivers who won at least one pole.
Busch’s previous career-high was three, twice (2013-14).
He started from the pole at Dover I, Pocono I, Kentucky, Indianapolis, Pocono II, Watkins Glen, Chicago and New Hampshire II.
Four of his poles came in a five-race stretch, including three straight at Indianapolis, Pocono II and Watkins Glen. He won twice from the pole, at Pocono II and New Hampshire II.
Harvick’s four poles (Atlanta, Texas I, Coke 600, Southern 500) are the second most in his career, following his eight in 2014 when he won the title. Sixteen of Harvick’s 21 Cup poles have come in the last five seasons. He didn’t win any from 2007-2012.
Larson’s three poles (Auto Club, Michigan I and Sonoma) brought his career total to four. His first came in 2014.
Truex’s three poles (Loudon I, Dover II and Kansas II) fell short of his career-high of five from last year. He has 15 poles in his 12 full-time seasons.
Keselowski’s two poles (Las Vegas, Michigan II) bring his career total to 14.
Two drivers, Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones, won their first Cup poles.
Jimmie Johnson failed to earn a pole for just the second time in his full-time career, which began in 2002.
Here’s the full list of 2017 pole winners.
Kyle Busch – Eight
Kevin Harvick – Four
Kyle Larson – Three
Martin Truex Jr. – Three
Brad Keselowski – Two
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Two
Denny Hamlin – Two
Joey Logano – Two
Matt Kenseth – Two
Ryan Blaney – Two
Chase Elliott – One
Erik Jones – One
Kurt Busch – One
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – One