NASCAR Phoenix: Mark Martin secures pole

Mark Martin secured the 56th pole of his NASCAR Sprint Cup career at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday

NASCAR Phoenix: Mark Martin secures pole

Despite a later slot traditionally being better for qualifying as the sun sets at the Arizona track, Michael Waltrip Toyota driver Martin was able to take provisional pole with a mid-pack lap and could then resist all the challengers at the end of the queue and hang on in front.

Martin's 26.973-second lap gave him a 0.040s advantage over front row partner Kasey Kahne's Hendrick Chevrolet.

"The car was beautiful," said Martin, who also took pole for this event a year ago. "All the guys do such a nice job. I had a lot of anxiety about it. The times are so close that one little slip-up really costs you here."

Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson made it two Hendrick cars in the top three, with team-mate Jeff Gordon fifth behind Kyle Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Practice pacesetter Matt Kenseth could only manage ninth.

After her Daytona pole a week ago, Danica Patrick experienced a comedown as her best lap proved only 40th fastest.

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                     Time     Gap
 1.  Mark Martin         Waltrip Toyota               26.073s
 2.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet           26.113s  + 0.040s
 3.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet           26.124s  + 0.051s
 4.  Kyle Busch          Joe Gibbs Toyota             26.149s  + 0.076s
 5.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet           26.246s  + 0.173s
 6.  Tony Stewart        Stewart-Haas Chevrolet       26.250s  + 0.177s
 7.  Kevin Harvick       Childress Chevrolet          26.263s  + 0.190s
 8.  Denny Hamlin        Joe Gibbs Toyota             26.292s  + 0.219s
 9.  Matt Kenseth        Joe Gibbs Toyota             26.300s  + 0.227s
10.  Ryan Newman         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet       26.304s  + 0.231s
11.  Brad Keselowski     Penske Ford                  26.309s  + 0.236s
12.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr  Roush Fenway Ford            26.329s  + 0.256s
13.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota               26.344s  + 0.271s
14.  Martin Truex Jr     Waltrip Toyota               26.354s  + 0.281s
15.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford            26.377s  + 0.304s
16.  Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet          26.400s  + 0.327s
17.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford            26.414s  + 0.341s
18.  Aric Almirola       Petty Ford                   26.419s  + 0.346s
19.  Jamie McMurray      Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet  26.483s  + 0.410s
20.  Jeff Burton         Childress Chevrolet          26.492s  + 0.419s
21.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet           26.496s  + 0.423s
22.  Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford                   26.580s  + 0.507s
23.  AJ Allmendinger     Phoenix Chevrolet            26.580s  + 0.507s
24.  David Ragan         Front Row Ford               26.614s  + 0.541s
25.  Kurt Busch          Furniture Row Chevrolet      26.618s  + 0.545s
26.  Dave Blaney         Baldwin Chevrolet            26.647s  + 0.574s
27.  JJ Yeley            Baldwin Chevrolet            26.654s  + 0.581s
28.  Scott Speed         Leavine Ford                 26.683s  + 0.610s
29.  Juan Pablo Montoya  Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet  26.702s  + 0.629s
30.  Travis Kvapil       BK Toyota                    26.725s  + 0.652s
31.  David Gilliland     Front Row Ford               26.727s  + 0.654s
32.  Joey Logano         Penske Ford                  26.791s  + 0.718s
33.  Bobby Labonte       JTG Daugherty                26.797s  + 0.724s
34.  David Reutimann     BK Toyota                    26.903s  + 0.830s
35.  Mike Bliss          Humphrey Smith Toyta         26.911s  + 0.838s
36.  Josh Wise           Front Row Ford               26.948s  + 0.875s
37.  David Stremme       Swan Toyota                  26.952s  + 0.879s
38.  Landon Cassill      Circle Sport Chevrolet       26.990s  + 0.877s
39.  Scott Riggs         Xxxtreme Ford                27.084s  + 0.960s
40.  Danica Patrick      Stewart-Haas Chevrolet       27.090s  + 0.941s
41.  Joe Nemechek        NEMCO Toyota                 27.268s  + 1.022s
42.  Ken Schrader        FAS Lane Ford                27.325s  + 1.075s
43.  Casey Mears         Germain Ford                 27.421s  + 1.158s
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