Riggs Grabs First Pole at Martinsville

Scott Riggs captured the pole for Sunday's Nextel Cup short track race at the Martinsville Speedway. The No.10 Chevrolet grabbed the top spot with a lap of 19.588 seconds (96.671 mph) around the 0.528-mile oval

Riggs Grabs First Pole at Martinsville

The pole victory was the first of Riggs' Nextel Cup career. His previous best was a fourth-place on the starting grid which he accomplished three times in 2004.

"We just wanted to be in the top-five and have a good starting position and try to look at the big picture," said Riggs. "To get the pole is great for the guys, they needed this, and have worked awful hard every single week."

Starting on the front row with Riggs will be Ryan Newman who posted a second-best time of 19.591 seconds. Newman holds the track record at Martinsville with a time of 19.511 which he set last fall.

Jeremy Mayfield (19.606) and defending Advance Auto Parts 500 winner Rusty Wallace (19.611). Wallace has captured seven victories at the Martinsville Speedway and was one of the fastest cars on the track last week before a flat tire shortcircuited a trip to Victory Lane.

Last week's winner Kevin Harvick (19.648) was fifth quickest, while Jeff Gordon will start from 16th on the grid.

Gordon has posted five poles and eight top-five results in the last nine races at Martinsville. He has won the spring pole in each of the last four years and has a total of five wins. Gordon has been running at the finish in all 24 of his Martinsville starts, the longest streak without a DNF among the 599 drivers who have competed at Martinsville since 1949.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 26th on the grid.

Nextel Cup points leader and Gordon teammate Jimmie Johnson has also had some success at Martinsville, though not anywhere near as good as Gordon. After finishing 35th in his first start at Martinsville in 2002, he has scored five consecutive top-10s and won last October. But the No.48 Hendrick Chevrolet was a disappointing 37th.

"We thought we would be a little faster than that," said Johnson. "We came here with this setup and won the fall race. It just doesn't qualifying that well, but we have a great race car and we usually come from the back here at Martinsville."

Ricky Rudd, who has a Nextel Cup record consecutive start streak of 757, had to qualify on time to continue his streak. He made it in with ease on a time of 19.753, good enough for 13th on the grid.

"We kind of got ourselves in a box with the points situation, so we left a little on the table," said Rudd. "We went extra conservative today and might have another tenth in it."

Ken Schrader crashed on his second laps and will have to go to the backup car.

Qualifying results for the Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway:

Pos Driver Team Speed 1. Scott Riggs Chevrolet 96.671mph 2. Ryan Newman Dodge 96.657mph 3. Jeremy Mayfield Dodge 96.583mph 4. Rusty Wallace Dodge 96.558mph 5. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 96.376mph 6. Bobby Labonte Chevrolet 96.259mph 7. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 96.195mph 8. Greg Biffle Ford 96.127mph 9. Kurt Busch Ford 96.063mph 10. Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 96.015mph 11. Ken Schrader Dodge 95.917mph 12. Jason Leffler Chevrolet 95.888mph 13. Ricky Rudd Ford 95.864mph 14. Jeff Green Dodge 95.748mph 15. Mike Bliss Chevrolet 95.743mph 16. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 95.728mph 17. Travis Kvapil Dodge 95.699mph 18. Matt Kenseth Ford 95.574mph 19. Kyle Petty Dodge 95.554mph 20. Sterling Marlin Dodge 95.458mph 21. Kyle Busch Chevrolet 95.28 mph 22. Mark Martin Ford 95.271mph 23. Mike Wallace Chevrolet 95.208mph 24. Casey Mears Dodge 95.194mph 25. Elliott Sadler Ford 95.17 mph 26. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 95.127mph 27. Brian Vickers Chevrolet 95.089mph 28. Bobby Hamilton Jr. Chevrolet 95.046mph 29. Jamie McMurray Dodge 95.008mph 30. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 94.955mph 31. Michael Waltrip Chevrolet 94.917mph 32. Dale Jarrett Ford 94.865mph 33. Scott Wimmer Dodge 94.652mph 34. Mike Garvey Dodge 94.614mph 35. Kasey Kahne Dodge 94.562mph 36. Carl Edwards Ford 94.519mph 37. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 94.491mph 38. Hermie Sadler Ford 94.336mph 39. Randy LaJoie Chevrolet 94.129mph 40. Johnny Sauter Dodge 93.929mph 41. Kevin Lepage Dodge 93.53 mph 42. Dave Blaney Chevrolet 93.525mph 43. Robby Gordon Chevrolet 93.354mph Did not Qualify: 44. Stanton Barrett Chevrolet 92.956mph 45. Jeff Fuller Dodge 92.833mph 46. Kirk Shelmerdine Ford 92.461mph 47. Carl Long Chevrolet 91.931mph 
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