Martinsville, VA (Sports Network) - Jimmie Johnson won the pole for Sunday's
STP Gas Booster 500 after setting a new track qualifying record at
Johnson, the five-time Sprint Cup Series champion, turned a lap during
Friday's qualifying session at 98.400 mph. Tony Stewart held the previous
record at this 0.526-mile, paperclip-shaped racetrack at 98.083 mph, which he
set in October 2005.
It was Johnson's 30th career pole in NASCAR's premier series, including his
third at Martinsville. He started on the pole and won the fall race here last
October. Johnson was quickest in practice earlier in the day.
Marcos Ambrose earned the outside pole with a lap at 98.364 mph. Brian Vickers
qualified third, followed by Joey Logano and Kasey Kahne.
Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski, the defending series champion, Matt Kenseth,
Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman, who won this race one year ago, completed the
Kyle Busch will start 11th after winning the most recent race on March 24 at
Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
Mark Martin qualified 35th in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Martin is
substituting for Denny Hamlin in this race after Hamlin suffered a compression
fracture in his lower back during an accident on the final lap at Fontana.
Danica Patrick will start 32nd in her first race at Martinsville. Patrick will
become the first female to compete in a Sprint Cup event here.
Mike Bliss was the only driver who failed to qualify for Sunday's 500-lap
race, which is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET.
The Sports Network