Martin Claims Sprint Cup Pole At Richmond
Mark Martin will start from the pole in Saturday night’s Capital City 400 Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway after laying down the fastest lap during Friday’s qualifying session.
The pole is the second of the season for the Michael Waltrip Racing driver as he also qualified No. 1 for the race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Martin’s pole lap in his Toyota Camry was at 128.327 mph.
“Well, I tried to get it on the first lap,” Martin said. “I really didn’t want to run the second lap. I knew I was going to be close to wrecking and I didn’t want to wreck the car and when he (Rodney Childers, crew chief) didn’t call me off on the first lap, I knew that we hadn’t got it. I couldn’t tell. I thought we might be 15th, you know? I had to buckle down and try to get a little bit more that second lap.”
Carl Edwards, who finished second in last year’s series championship, was second fastest in qualifying.
Edwards’ fast lap was at 128.290 mph in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford. His time had stood as fastest until Martin knocked it from the pole on the final run of the session.
“Yeah,” Edwards said, “one of his team managers said, ‘Just be glad he is 53, not 35.’ It is good for us to be on the front row. If you can’t be first you better be second. It is a good starting spot for us. Man that was dramatic for me to watch him run that first lap and be that close and then watch the tracker. I thought we had him but he shot up to the top of the scoreboard. He has nerves of steel and did a great job. He’s got the pole.”
“That’s the fun of racing and competition,” Martin said. “I think a lot of guys like to see an old dude like me pull one off every once in a while. It’s pretty cool. Carl’s (Edwards) a good dude. It’ll be there other way around next time probably.”
Third fastest in qualifying was Kevin Harvick in a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Harvick had a lap at 1218.041 mph.
Fourth fastest was A.J. Allmendinger of Penske Racing, who won the pole a week ago at Kansas Speedway.
Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing was fifth while four-time champion Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports was sixth.
Rounding out the top 10 were Denny Hamlin, who won last week’s race, Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Martin continues to run well in his part-time schedule for the Waltrip team. He is 24th in point despite having only started six of the eight races.
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