Mark Martin takes fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup pole of 2012 at Michigan
|By Diego Mejia||Friday, August 17th 2012, 22:30 GMT|
Mark Martin claimed his fourth pole position of the season in qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan.
The 53-year-old's lap was around two tenths of a second quicker than the previous pole benchmark set by Roush Fenway's Carl Edwards, at an average speed of 199.706 mph around the two-mile oval.
Hendrick Motorsports' Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson, both quicker than Michael Waltrip Racing driver Martin in practice earlier in the day, ran just after him in the order but could not match the veteran's speed or knock Edwards off the front row.
Martin's fourth pole of the season places underlines his status as the top Cup qualifier this year despite only being on a limited schedule.
His 55th career pole arrives at one of his best tracks, where he has won five times - although this is his maiden pole at the venue.
"I didn't almost wreck on the first lap so I tried to go a little harder on the second lap," said Martin. "I'm designed and geared for one-lap qualifying. I know I can never make another lap that crazy, no matter what."
Points leader Johnson and Edwards' Roush Fenway team-mate Matt Kenseth will start from the second row of the grid, ahead of Kahne and Wood Brothers' Trevor Bayne, the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers.
Martin's team-mate Martin Truex Jr will line up second beside last week's Watkins Glen winner Marcos Ambrose, who sat on pole at Michigan with a new track record in June.
Parker Kligerman replaced Sam Hornish Jr at the wheel of the #22 Penske Dodge as the three-time IndyCar champion practiced and qualified his Nationwide Series car in Montreal. Kligerman surprised by outqualifying his team-mate Brad Keselowski.
Richard Petty Motorsports' Aric Almirola clipped the wall as he was starting his flying lap due to an apparent part failure and will be forced to a back-up car for Saturday's practice and the race.
Dave Blaney did not set a time but will start Sunday's race thanks to his points status while Stephen Leicht and JJ Yeley failed to make the field.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota 36.053s 2. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 36.249s + 0.196s 3. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 36.283s + 0.230s 4. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford 36.330s + 0.277s 5. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 36.386s + 0.333s 6. Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Ford 36.404s + 0.351s 7. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 36.428s + 0.375s 8. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 36.457s + 0.404s 9. Landon Cassill BK Toyota 36.468s + 0.415s 10. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 36.518s + 0.465s 11. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 36.527s + 0.474s 12. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 36.546s + 0.493s 13. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 36.568s + 0.515s 14. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 36.571s + 0.518s 15. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 36.598s + 0.545s 16. Joey Logano Joe Gibbs Toyota 36.641s + 0.588s 17. Parker Kligerman Penske Dodge 36.688s + 0.635s 18. Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet 36.694s + 0.641s 19. Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge 36.701s + 0.648s 20. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 36.725s + 0.672s 21. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota 36.743s + 0.690s 22. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 36.768s + 0.715s 23. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota 37.248s + 1.195s 24. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 37.254s + 1.201s 25. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 37.279s + 1.226s 26. Kurt Busch Phoenix Chevrolet 37.308s + 1.255s 27. Reed Sorenson Humphrey Smith Ford 37.362s + 1.309s 28. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 37.384s + 1.331s 29. Casey Mears Germain Ford 37.391s + 1.338s 30. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 37.395s + 1.342s 31. David Stremme Inception Toyota 37.430s + 1.377s 32. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 37.445s + 1.392s 33. Jason Leffler Humphrey Smith Ford 37.460s + 1.407s 34. Josh Wise Front Row Ford 37.465s + 1.412s 35. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 37.477s + 1.424s 36. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 37.541s + 1.488s 37. David Ragan Front Row Ford 37.554s + 1.501s 38. Scott Riggs R3 Chevrolet 37.906s + 1.853s 39. David Reutimann Baldwin Chevrolet 38.088s + 2.035s 40. TJ Bell FAS Lane Ford 38.894s + 2.841s 41. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 42. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 43. Mike Skinner Parsons Ford 37.907s + 1.854s Did not qualify: JJ Yeley Max Q Chevrolet 38.266s + 2.213s Stephen Leicht Circle Sport Chevrolet 38.006s + 1.953s