BRISTOL, Tenn. — Stafford Township native Ryan Truex qualified 18th Friday night for Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Truex, driving the No. 51 Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing, will be making his Sprint Cup debut in the 7:30 p.m. race. He made it around the 0.533-mile track in 127.393 mph.

His brother Martin will start ninth with a speed of 128.159.

Denny Hamlin won the pole at 128.969 mph for the first time of his career.

It was good enough to hold off five-time Bristol winner Kurt Busch, who qualified second with a lap of 128.770. It’s the seventh front-row starting spot of the season for Busch, who is suddenly a hot commodity on the free-agent market with an offer to join Stewart-Haas Racing next season.

Carl Edwards qualified third and was followed by Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth as Toyota drivers took three of the top five spots.

Started at The Press in 1993 as an Ocean County reporter. Moved to the copy desk in 1994 until taking over as editor of At The Shore in 1995. Became deputy sports editor in 2004 and was promoted to sports editor in 2007.