Stewart on pole with track record

Points leader Tony Stewart edged closer to the 2005 Nextel Cup title when he clinched pole position with a track record at the Martinsville Speedway, ahead of Sunday's Subway 500

Stewart on pole with track record

Stewart lapped the oval circuit at a speed of 98.08mph - 19.306 seconds, some two tenths of a second faster than the previous track record of 19.513 seconds, set by Ryan Newman one year ago.

But Stewart was not alone in breaking Newman's record: a total of eleven drivers went faster, proving just how much faster the NASCAR cars have become over the year, and once again raising worries that the Goodyear tyres will suffer increased wear in Sunday's race.

More than a dozen drivers suffered high-speed tyre punctures in last weekend's race at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

But Stewart, who was among the drivers to suffer a tyre failure last week, remained positive ahead of Sunday's race, stating today: "The qualifying package was real good and our race trim package seems to be real good too. I'm pretty excited about Sunday already."

This was Stewart's third pole position of the season and the tenth of his NASCAR career.

Local boy Ricky Rudd will start alongside Stewart on the front row, with Chase contenders Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman on the second row. Jimmie Johnson, who shares the points lead with Stewart, qualified in sixth.

Pos  Driver               Make         Speed
 1.  Tony Stewart         Chevrolet    98.084 Chase
 2.  Ricky Rudd           Ford         97.992
 3.  Rusty Wallace        Dodge        97.931 Chase
 4.  Ryan Newman          Dodge        97.911 Chase
 5.  Denny Hamlin         Chevrolet    97.835
 6.  Jimmie Johnson       Chevrolet    97.548 Chase
 7.  Jeremy Mayfield      Dodge        97.442 Chase
 8.  Joe Nemechek         Chevrolet    97.332
 9.  Elliott Sadler       Ford         97.292
10.  Bobby Labonte        Chevrolet    97.212
11.  Jeff Green           Dodge        97.212
12.  Travis Kvapil        Dodge        97.008
13.  Kyle Petty           Dodge        96.929
14.  Kurt Busch           Ford         96.884 Chase
15.  Jeff Gordon          Chevrolet    96.864
16.  Casey Mears          Dodge        96.849
17.  Brian Vickers        Chevrolet    96.835
18.  Carl Edwards         Ford         96.805 Chase
19.  Dave Blaney          Chevrolet    96.676
20.  Dale Earnhardt Jr.   Chevrolet    96.671
21.  Jeff Burton          Chevrolet    96.592
22.  Greg Biffle          Ford         96.533 Chase
23.  Kyle Busch           Chevrolet    96.479
24.  Ken Schrader         Dodge        96.474
25.  Matt Kenseth         Ford         96.415 Chase
26.  Scott Riggs          Chevrolet    96.293
27.  Mike Wallace         Chevrolet    96.293
28.  Dale Jarrett         Ford         96.234
29.  Kevin Harvick        Chevrolet    96.166
30.  Jamie McMurray       Dodge        96.151
31.  Mike Bliss           Chevrolet    96.122
32.  Sterling Marlin      Dodge        96.097
33.  Robby Gordon         Chevrolet    96.034
34.  Kasey Kahne          Dodge        95.908
35.  Mark Martin          Ford         95.830 Chase
36.  Scott Wimmer         Dodge        95.743
37.  Bobby Hamilton       Dodge        95.718
38.  Derrike Cope         Dodge        95.641
39.  Michael Waltrip      Chevrolet    95.357
40.  Jimmy Spencer        Dodge        95.266
41.  Hermie Sadler        Ford         95.237
43.  Bobby Hamilton Jr.   Chevrolet    95.075
43.  Stanton Barrett      Chevrolet    95.204
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