Daytona Beach, Fla. Martin Truex lived up to his billing Friday, starting his first full season in the Busch Series by winning the pole for the Hersey's Kisses 300 at Daytona International Speedway.
Truex, driving for Chance 2 Motorsports, co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his stepmother, Teresa Earnhardt, turned a fast lap of 181.138 mph, barely beating the 181.108 of Ron Hornaday Jr.
"We've got probably the best team out here, and I think everybody knew that," Truex said. "It's just nice to go out and be able to do what we thought we could do."
Truex barely avoided a disaster after Michael Waltrip's left rear tire went flat in the practice that followed qualifying. Waltrip, in a draft with Truex close behind, slid sideways, bounced off the right front of Truex's Chevrolet and hit the wall.
Waltrip, who had qualified 11th, had to switch to a backup car and will start from the rear of the 43-car field. Truex's crew said they would repair the damage to his car.
Truex, 23, has driven in 15 Busch Series races, including 10 in 2003. He closed out the season with a pair of career-best second-place finishes while driving for the Earnhardt team.
Nextel Cup standout and former Busch champion Kevin Harvick was third Friday at 180.832.