The Cup Series lands in Loudon this weekend as the battle for playoff spots wages on. Emotions ran high last weekend in Atlanta, where several drivers were either heartbroken or angry at another driver. They will all be aiming to right the ship this weekend on the 1.058-mile paved oval. That began earlier today with a short practice session, followed by qualifying for tomorrow's race.

Truex was the second-to-last driver to hit the track in the final round of qualifying, and put in a superb lap at 127.113 mph to earn his 20th career Cup pole, and his first with Joe Gibbs Racing.

"I’m really just proud of everybody on the team. We’ve had an up-and-down year and we’ve been digging and clawing and scratching and fighting and just proud of everyone. This track has always been a special one for me. I certainly didn’t come here expecting to have this kind of speed. It’s going to be very difficult to pass. You could kind of see it in practice. Track position will be huge. Our pit crew has really come a long way since the beginning of the year and we’re really going to have to lean on them tomorrow."

Joining Truex on the front row will be Chase Elliott, who won last weekend's race in his home state of Georgia. This will be the third consecutive week that he starts the race from the front row. "I was shocked. Shocked that we were second. Shocked that it held on that long. I’m really proud of our NAPA team. It’s not been super pretty, but I feel like we’ve learned a couple of things. At this point, we just have to make sure we make some good decisions overnight. Proud of the effort. Nice to be on the front row and give us a good pit selection. We’ll go to work all day tomorrow."

Toyota flexed their muscle as 23XI Racing swept Row 2 with Kurt Busch and Bubba Wallace. “I just nailed the lap,” Busch said. “The guys made really good adjustments to my car.”

Row 3 features Christopher Bell and William Byron. The defending race winner, Aric Almirola, will start from the inside of Row 4 along with reigning series champion Kyle Larson. Brad Keselowski had his best qualifying performance of the season and will start 9th as four-time New Hampshire winner Kevin Harvick completes the top ten starters.

2022 New Hampshire Ambetter 301 - Qualifying Results
Pos Driver Team Manufacturer
1Martin Truex JrJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
2Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
3Kurt Busch23XI RacingToyota
4Bubba Wallace23XI RacingToyota
5Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
6William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
7Aric AlmirolaStewart Haas RacingFord
8Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
9Brad KeselowskiRFK RacingFord
10Kevin HarvickStewart Haas RacingFord
11Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord
12Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord
13Tyler ReddickRichard Childress RacingChevrolet
14Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
15Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord
16Chris BuescherRFK RacingFord
17Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
18Ross ChastainTrackHouse RacingChevrolet
19Daniel SuarezTrackHouse RacingChevrolet
20AJ AllmendingerKaulig RacingChevrolet
21Corey LaJoieSpire MotorsportsChevrolet
22Erik JonesPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet
23Cole CusterStewart Haas RacingFord
24Ricky Stenhouse JrJTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet
25Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet
26Todd GillilandFront Row MotorsportsFord
27Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
28Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord
29Chase BriscoeStewart Haas RacingFord
30Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet
31Harrison BurtonWood Brothers RacingFord
32BJ McLeodLive Fast MotorsportsFord
33JJ YeleyRick Ware RacingFord
34Josh BilickiSpire MotorsportsChevrolet
35Ty DillonPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet
36Cody WareRick Ware RacingFord

Just missing out on making the final round were Team Penske drivers Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano, who will start from Row 6 tomorrow. Starting just behind them are Tyler Reddick, and his soon-to-be new boss, Denny Hamlin. TrackHouse Racing didn't have the best day, as their two drivers start 18th and 19th tomorrow. The worst qualifying Toyota was Kyle Busch, who will start from the 17th position.

Kyle has finished 20th or worse in four straight races as he continues to iron out his future driving plans. The two-time Cup champion has three wins at New Hampshire and 11 top-five finishes. He has led 1,134 laps here, which is most among active drivers. That total is more than 300 more than second-highest driver. Kyle's last two trips to Loudon haven't gone well though, finishing 38th and 37th after crashing less than 20 laps into each race.

Ross Chastain, who starts next to Busch tomorrow, found himself in another uncomfortable situation after the race last weekend, causing multiple incidents that involved more than a dozen cars. His biggest mistake was getting into Hamlin, who has clearly had enough of the TrackHouse driver.

"We were in really good position and we were about to be clear of Ross and be in third in the outside line," Hamlin said after the race. "I was really happy with where I was at for sure. I think Ross probably sensed that we were about to clear him so he chased us up there and got into us. Everyone has different tolerance levels and as you all know, I’ve reached my peak. I don’t put this one anywhere near the other incidents."

When asked if Chastain has crossed the line, Hamlin said "It’s all in whatever level I’m willing to take. It’s just another unfortunate circumstance for him." After their tussle last month at Gateway, Hamlin vowed his revenge. "You’re going to have to weigh the odds of when is the right time to make sure they get the message," he said. "Ultimately, the sport is self-policing. Usually, when you least suspect it and it means the most, it comes back around."

With so many accidents taking out a number of cars at Atlanta, many drivers will be desperate for a good result tomorrow. That includes Reddick, who won his first career Cup race two weeks ago. "We had a great car at Atlanta so it’s a shame that we weren’t able to capitalize on it. It’s pretty frustrating because it was very obvious that we had a fantastic car. We’ll try and rebound tomorrow."

Reddick made headlines this week as it was announced that he will be joining Hamlin’s 23XI Racing team in 2024. That was a surprise for Richard Childress Racing, who had already picked up his option for next season. It will be interesting to monitor how their relationship changes over the coming weeks, but their focus remains on winning a championship this year.

"We just have to manage our way through it," said Jim Campbell, Vice President of Chevrolet Performance. "What I’m first of all proud of is that the team is going to focus on driving for the championship with Tyler. I had a chance to talk to him and the RCR team and Tyler is completely committed to running every lap as hard as he can throughout the rest of this year and next, and I do believe him."

William Byron and Alex Bowman also saw their race end early last week. The Hendrick Motorsports teammates have been in a slump for some time now, and hope to snap out of that tomorrow afternoon. Bowman qualified 27th today, and will have an uphill battle tomorrow.

"It was just unfortunate that we were back there," Byron said of his 30th place finish. We’ll keep working hard and it will change soon." Bowman had a tire go down that sent him to a 32nd place finish last weekend. "Bummer that it ended like that, but at least we had a fast race car," he said. Both drivers are currently locked into the Playoffs.

Harvick has been sensational at New Hampshire. His four wins here are most all-time, in a tie with Jeff Burton. The Stewart Haas driver comes into the weekend as the first driver outside of a playoff spot. He knows this place like the back of his hand, which bodes well for the team when the green flag waves tomorrow.

You can just tell the places he’s comfortable with, said crew chief Rodney Childers. "He’s made thousands and thousands of laps without the track being changed or things being different, and he knows where every crack and every little seam and all that stuff is and how to manipulate the car and all that. Hopefully we can capitalize on that."

"Flat tracks have always been really good for me in my career," Harvick said. "When you look at SHR and the things we’ve been able to accomplish at Loudon and Phoenix, they’ve kind of followed that same trend. Our guys have done a great job of having a good short-track, flat-track program." The 2014 Cup champion is aiming to snap his 62-race winless streak tomorrow.

Qualifying is always important, but it has not proven to be a crucial element to winning this race. In the last 17 races at New Hampshire, the race has only been won from pole position one time. That was Kyle Busch in 2017, which was also the last win at Loudon for Toyota. The last four races have all been won by Ford.

Coverage for tomorrow's Ambetter 301 begins at 3 PM ET on USA Network.