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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