Friday, April 5, 2013

NSCS Pole Report: Johnson wins Martinsville pole, sets new track record

Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus.
Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR

Seven-time Martinsville Speedway winner Jimmie Johnson is off to a good start for Sunday's STP Gas Booster 500. Johnson won the pole position with a lap of 98.4 mph (19.244 seconds) in Friday's session, setting a new track record at the 0.526-mile short track.

This marks Johnson's 30th career pole. Johnson claims back-to-back poles at the Virginia track, starting in the top spot at last year's fall race and claiming his seventh track win there. Johnson is tied with Jeff Gordon in leading all active drivers with the most wins at Martinsville.

Rounding out the top 5 are Marcos Ambrose, Brian Vickers, Joey Logano and Kasey Kahne.

Mark Martin, substituting for the injured Denny Hamlin this week, had a rough qualifying lap and will start 35th in the No. 11 FedEx Toyota. Hamlin is expected to miss at least six weeks of racing as he recovers from a fractured vertebra he suffered following a last-lap wreck at Auto Club Speedway two weeks ago. Brian Vickers will replace Hamlin starting next week at Texas.

The STP Gas Booster 500 will air live at 1 p.m. ET Sunday on FOX. Pre-race coverage starts at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Starting lineup:
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Marcos Ambrose
3. Brian Vickers
4. Joey Logano
5. Kasey Kahne
6. Jeff Gordon
7. Brad Keselowski
8. Matt Kenseth
9. Carl Edwards
10. Ryan Newman
11. Kyle Busch
12. Martin Truex Jr.
13. Jamie McMurray
14. Juan Pablo Montoya
15. Clint Bowyer
16. Paul Menard
17. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
18. Regan Smith
19. Kurt Busch
20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
21. Kevin Harvick
22. Greg Biffle
23. David Ragan
24. David Stremme
25. Travis Kvapil
26. Tony Stewart
27. Michael McDowell
28. Scott Speed
29. Jeff Burton
30. David Gilliland
31.  Bobby Labonte
32. Danica Patrick
33. Landon Cassill
34. Aric Almirola
35. Mark Martin
36. Ken Schrader
37. J.J. Yeley
38. Scott Riggs
39. Dave Blaney
40. David Reutimann
41. Casey Mears
42. Josh Wise
43. Joe Nemechek

Did Not Qualify: Mike Bliss

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