Mark Martin takes Phoenix NASCAR Sprint Cup pole

NASCAR veteran Mark Martin claimed pole position for Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix

Mark Martin takes Phoenix NASCAR Sprint Cup pole

The Michael Waltrip Racing driver, who is running a partial schedule this season, set the pace in qualifying with a lap of 26.313 seconds at an average speed of 136.815 mph. The 53-year-old, driving the #55 Toyota, was the penultimate driver in the order on a hot, slick track, beating the previous benchmark set by Furniture Row's Regan Smith.

"This is a great addition to my resume," said Martin after claiming his 52nd career pole, his first since Talladega's autumn race in 2011.

"Michael Waltrip gets the last bit of credit for that pole. Having a driver for an owner, someone that I respect and look up to, whose words before qualifying probably made the difference in making the pole... It's just incredible the opportunity they're giving me."

Reigning Cup champion Tony Stewart, who ran last in the order after being quickest in Friday's opening practice, ultimately came closest to beating Martin, trailing the pole position time by 0.133s.

Five-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson impressed by saving a massive sideways moment on his way to provisional pole, finishing fourth in the end behind Smith.

Earnhardt Ganassi's Juan Pablo Montoya bounced back from his fiery crash at Daytona with good pace in both practice and qualifying, finishing fifth on the grid for Sunday's 312-lap event. Stewart-Haas' Ryan Newman, who was forced to a back-up car following a crash during a qualifying simulation on Friday, was sixth fastest behind the Colombian.

Roush Fenway's Greg Biffle was the best Ford in seventh, followed by Richard Childress Racing's Kevin Harvick, Joe Gibbs Racing's Joey Logano and Hendrick new boy and the most recent Phoenix winner Kasey Kahne, who rounded out the top 10. Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth was only 26th fastest for Roush Fenway.

Mike Bliss spun during his qualifying run but made the field thanks to his guaranteed status, following a points swap with Roush Fenway's #6 car, which is not entered for this race. Timmy Hill was the only non-qualifier.

Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota 26.313s 2. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 26.446s + 0.133s 3. Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet 26.471s + 0.158s 4. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 26.552s + 0.239s 5. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 26.559s + 0.246s 6. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 26.570s + 0.257s 7. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 26.652s + 0.339s 8. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet 26.664s + 0.351s 9. Joey Logano Gibbs Toyota 26.667s + 0.354s 10. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 26.712s + 0.399s 11. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet 26.743s + 0.430s 12. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota 26.753s + 0.440s 13. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota 26.766s + 0.453s 14. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford 26.776s + 0.463s 15. AJ Allmendinger Penske Dodge 26.810s + 0.497s 16. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 26.812s + 0.499s 17. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 26.854s + 0.541s 18. Aric Almirola Petty Ford 26.856s + 0.543s 19. Kurt Busch Phoenix Chevrolet 26.878s + 0.565s 20. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet 26.903s + 0.590s 21. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet 26.913s + 0.600s 22. Landon Cassill BK Toyota 26.933s + 0.620s 23. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 26.940s  + 0.627s 24. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 26.943s + 0.630s 25. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota 26.983s + 0.670s 26. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford 27.094s + 0.781s 27. Scott Riggs R3 Chevrolet 27.120s + 0.807s 28. Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge 27.127s + 0.814s 29. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 27.150s + 0.837s 30. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 27.182s + 0.869s 31. Casey Mears Germain Ford 27.221s + 0.908s 32. David Reutimann Baldwin Chevrolet 27.225s + 0.912s 33. Josh Wise Front Row Ford 27.256s + 0.943s 34. David Ragan Front Row Ford 27.261s + 0.948s 35. JJ Yeley Robinson-Blakeney Toyota 27.338s + 1.025s 36. David Gilliland Front Row Ford 27.373s + 1.060s 37. Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 27.376s + 1.063s 38. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 27.566s + 1.253s 39. Robby Gordon Gordon Dodge 27.615s + 1.302s 40. Brendan Gaughan Childress Chevrolet 27.945s + 1.632s 41. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 28.159s + 1.846s 42. Mike Bliss FAS Lane Ford 30.493s + 4.180s 43. David Stremme Inception Toyota 27.887s + 1.574s Did not qualify: Timmy Hill Max Q/RWR Ford 27.914s + 1.601s 
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