McMurray wins top starting spot for Southern 500

McMurray pole award Darlington
Jamie McMurray claimed his second pole of the season Friday and will lead the field to the green flag for Saturday’s Showtime Southern 500 Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway.

With a lap of 180.370 mph, McMurray was the quickest during Friday’s qualifying session. He set a new qualifying record at Darlington, surpassing Matt Kenseth’s speed of 179.514 mph from last season.

This is McMurray’s fifth career pole. He won his first pole of 2010 at Auto Club Speedway in February, days after winning the Daytona 500.

Jeff Gordon ran a lap of 180.323 mph and will start on the outside pole. Gordon and McMurray were the only two drivers to reach speeds above 180 mph during qualifying.

Kyle Busch hit the wall during his qualifying run and will go to a backup car for Saturday’s race. He will start from the rear of the field.

A number of drivers scraped the wall during practice Friday and qualified in their backup cars: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Scott Speed, Marcos Ambrose, Casey Mears and Joe Nemechek. Mears and Nemechek failed to qualify for Saturday’s race.

J.J. Yeley, making his first start in the No. 46 for Whitney Motorsports, raced his way into the field and will start 30th. Yeley replaces Rookie of the Year contender Terry Cook, who qualified the No. 46 for just three of the first 10 races of 2010.

The Showtime Southern 500 will be broadcast Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on FOX. Green flag is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. ET.

Starting lineup:
1. Jamie McMurray   
2. Jeff Gordon   
3. Brian Vickers   
4. David Reutimann   
5. Mark Martin   
6. Ryan Newman   
7. Marcos Ambrose   
8. Denny Hamlin   
9. Brad Keselowski   
10. Kasey Kahne   
11. Jeff Burton   
12. A.J. Allmendinger   
13. Joey Logano   
14. Kurt Busch   
15. Juan Montoya   
16. Scott Speed   
17. Greg Biffle   
18. Michael McDowell   
19. Dale Earnhardt Jr.   
20. Paul Menard       
21. David Ragan   
22. Jimmie Johnson   
23. Bobby Labonte   
24. Tony Stewart   
25. Sam Hornish Jr.   
26. Robby Gordon   
27. Clint Bowyer   
28. Dave Blaney   
29. Matt Kenseth   
30. J.J. Yeley   
31. David Stremme   
32. Regan Smith   
33. Martin Truex Jr.   
34. David Gilliland   
35. Kevin Harvick   
36. Reed Sorenson   
37. Todd Bodine   
38. Elliott Sadler   
39. Kyle Busch   
40. Travis Kvapil   
41. Carl Edwards+   
42. Kevin Conway+*   
43. Max Papis

+ Owner points
* Rookie

Did Not Qualify:
Joe Nemechek   
Casey Mears   
Mike Bliss   

McMurray wins top starting spot for Southern 500 McMurray wins top starting spot for Southern 500 Reviewed by Admin on Saturday, May 08, 2010 Rating: 5