Martin Truex Jr. admits his team has struggled at Phoenix in recent years, but he starts Sunday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race in a good spot — on the pole.

The Furniture Row Racing driver, who won eight poles last season, earned his first of 2018 Friday at PIR for the TicketGuardian 500. 

It's the 16th career pole for Truex.

"We had a good game plan coming here," Truex told FS1 afterward. "Good execution by everybody."

Truex finished third last fall at Phoenix, but had been outside the top 10 the previous four races. The defending series champion hopes his team can figure out the quirky track.

"This race track changes every time we come back … and we haven't quite nailed it yet," Truex said.

Kevin Harvick, who won the past two weeks at Atlanta and Las Vegas, qualified 10th.

The TicketGuardian 500 starts at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday, on Fox.

Starting lineup for the TicketGuardian 500

1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Kyle Larson
3. Chase Elliott
4. Alex Bowman
5. Joey Logano
6. Denny Hamlin
7. Kyle Busch
8. Jamie McMurray
9. Erik Jones
10. Kevin Harvick
11. William Byron
12. Ryan Blaney
13. Ryan Newman
14. Paul Menard
15. Daniel Suarez
16. David Ragan
17. Jimmie Johnson
18. Austin Dillon
19. Clint Bowyer
20. AJ Allmendinger
21. Trevor Bayne
22. Aric Almirola
23. Kurt Busch
24. Chris Buescher
25. Brad Keselowski
26. Kasey Kahne
27. Darrell Wallace Jr.
28. Ty Dillon
29. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
30. Matt DiBenedetto
31. Michael McDowell
32. Gray Gaulding
33. Corey LaJoie
34. D.J. Kennington
35. Timmy Hill
36. Ross Chastain
37. Jeffrey Earnhardt