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TRUEX EXPECTS BREAKOUT

The confidence and levelheadedness of Martin Truex Jr. emerges when he talks about breaking out of his Busch series slump.

"I think it's going to be this weekend," Truex said after qualifying fourth behind polesitter Paul Menard for Saturday's Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway. "There's no telling. We could go five laps and get into a crash or something. You never know."

The reigning Busch champion has some reason for optimism this weekend. Like his boss, Dale Earnhardt Jr., he's got a nice -- albeit limited -- track record in restrictor-plate races.

He did nothing to tarnish that image Thursday, taking his Chevrolet around the 2.66-mile oval at 183.273 mph. Menard earned his second career Busch pole with a lap of 184.023. Joe Nemechek qualified second at 183.645 and Denny Hamlin third at 183.382.

Truex beat out Earnhardt, who co-owns Chance 2 Motorsports with his stepmother Teresa Earnhardt, in his Talladega debut last year. Truex has a win, a pole and three top-five finishes in four races at Talladega and Daytona.

In other racing news, Sam Hornish Jr. won the pole position today for the Indy Japan 300 and will be joined on the front row for Saturday's race by rookie Danica Patrick, the only female driver competing in the Indy Racing League this season.

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