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NASCAR NEWS 

Martin claims Kansas pole

Mark Martin's impressive run of success continued at Kansas where the Sprint Cup Series Chase leader claimed his seventh pole of the season.

The Hendrick driver, who leads the standing by 10 points over his team-mate Jimmie Johnson, set a time of 30.724 seconds at an average speed of 175.758 mph to beat the previous benchmark set by Dale Earnhardt Jr by 0.084s.

"That's pretty incredible," said Martin, who leads the series in number of pole positions this year with seven, the most he has ever claimed in his career during a single season.

"1989 was the most poles for me in one year. I remember that. That's a pretty crazy stat right there.

"We were on top of the board from the very first lap we took on the track today. Good qualifying run for us. I wish I had known I was that close."

Earnhardt was beaten by his senior team-mate to pole position but will still enjoy his first front-row start of the season on Sunday. He claimed his run was helped by wind, which was not as gusty during his lap as it probably was earlier during the session.

"The run was pretty good all day long, pretty rough, pretty windy," said Earnhardt. "I might have caught a window there in my lap because I didn't have any gust or anything there bothering my car. It is a good front row starting spot for us. We needed that, have needed it for some time."

Brad Keselowski made it a one-two-three for Hendrick Motorsports, setting the third fastest lap of the session and the best among the drivers who needed to qualify on time for Sunday's race.

"Man, that is awesome," said Keselowski after claiming the best qualifying result of his short Sprint Cup career. "I am just so proud of the team. What a great effort to have the top-three cars. Just a great day and a great car. I'm just looking forward to having a good run in these final two race for Hendrick Motorsports."

Jamie McMurray was fourth as the best Ford, while Tony Stewart was able to remain in the top-five despite being the first car out to complete his lap. Kasey Kahne was the fastest Dodge runner in sixth, using the old R5 power plant, while Joe Nemechek was seventh and the best Toyota.

Other Chase notables like reigning champion Jimmie Johnson, who won at Kansas a year ago, qualified eleventh; while Juan Pablo Montoya was fourteenth. Kurt Busch struggled during his lap and ended up down in 41st place as the worst placed in the grid for Sunday's race among the title contenders.

David Gilliland - who was driving a second car for Robby Gordon Motorsports - failed to qualify as well as Michael McDowell. Kevin Hamlin was attempting to make his Sprint Cup debut on Sunday, but he was the slowest qualifier.

Pos  Driver              Make        Speed     Time
 1.  Mark Martin         Chevrolet   175.758   30.724
 2.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Chevrolet   175.279   30.808 + 0.084
 3.  Brad Keselowski     Chevrolet   175.205   30.821 + 0.097
 4.  Jamie McMurray      Ford        175.199   30.822 + 0.098
 5.  Tony Stewart        Chevrolet   175.040   30.850 + 0.126
 6.  Kasey Kahne         Dodge       174.984   30.860 + 0.136
 7.  Joe Nemechek        Toyota      174.786   30.895 + 0.171
 8.  Clint Bowyer        Chevrolet   174.746   30.902 + 0.178
 9.  Jeff Gordon         Chevrolet   174.712   30.908 + 0.184
10.  Scott Speed         Toyota      174.656   30.918 + 0.194
11.  Jimmie Johnson      Chevrolet   174.627   30.923 + 0.199
12.  Brian Vickers       Toyota      174.610   30.926 + 0.202
13.  David Reutimann     Toyota      174.577   30.932 + 0.208
14.  Juan Montoya        Chevrolet   174.565   30.934 + 0.210
15.  AJ Allmendinger     Dodge       174.514   30.943 + 0.219
16.  Bill Elliott        Ford        174.216   30.996 + 0.272
17.  Carl Edwards        Ford        174.109   31.015 + 0.291
18.  Joey Logano         Toyota      174.109   31.015 + 0.291
19.  Mike Bliss          Dodge       173.857   31.060 + 0.336
20.  Paul Menard         Ford        173.796   31.071 + 0.347
21.  Martin Truex Jr     Chevrolet   173.768   31.076 + 0.352
22.  Denny Hamlin        Toyota      173.723   31.084 + 0.360
23.  Matt Kenseth        Ford        173.522   31.120 + 0.396
24.  Dave Blaney         Toyota      173.472   31.129 + 0.405
25.  David Ragan         Ford        173.377   31.146 + 0.422
26.  Bobby Labonte       Chevrolet   173.349   31.151 + 0.427
27.  Marcos Ambrose      Toyota      173.282   31.163 + 0.439
28.  Reed Sorenson       Dodge       173.277   31.164 + 0.440
29.  Michael Waltrip     Toyota      173.121   31.192 + 0.468
30.  Ryan Newman         Chevrolet   173.099   31.196 + 0.472
31.  Greg Biffle         Ford        173.060   31.203 + 0.479
32.  David Stremme       Dodge       172.999   31.214 + 0.490
33.  Sam Hornish Jr      Dodge       172.695   31.269 + 0.545
34.  Kyle Busch          Toyota      172.469   31.310 + 0.586
35.  Jeff Burton         Chevrolet   172.425   31.318 + 0.594
36.  Casey Mears         Chevrolet   172.150   31.368 + 0.644
37.  Robby Gordon        Toyota      172.040   31.388 + 0.664
38.  Kevin Harvick       Chevrolet   171.931   31.408 + 0.684
39.  Kurt Busch          Dodge       171.135   31.554 + 0.830
40.  John Andretti       Chevrolet   170.670   31.640 + 0.916
41.  Erik Darnell        Ford        170.326   31.704 + 0.980
42.  Elliott Sadler      Dodge       170.181   31.731 + 1.007
43.  Max Papis           Toyota      172.629   31.281 + 0.557
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