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McMurray earns his first pole of '11 at Martinsville

by Pete McCole
Saturday, April 02, 2011

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Jamie McMurray
Jamie McMurray picked up his first Coors Light Pole Award of the season, topping the grid on Saturdays qualifying session for Sunday’s Goody's Fast Relief 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway.

McMurray’s top speed of 96.509 mph was enough to knock Denny Hamlin off the top spot, McMurray then had to sit and wait as Joey Logano, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne all took their shots, but all of them coming up short to give McMurray his eighth career pole.

Newman took the second spot with a lap of 96.342 mph in the no. 39 Chevy, followed by Kahne in the Red Bull Toyota at 96.293 mph. The Toyota’s of Logano and Hamlin rounded out the top five.

Saturday’s pole-winning effort marks McMurray’s first pole at NASCAR’s shortest track, where is previous best start has been second. He’ll be looking for his first Martinsville win when he leads the field to the green flag on Sunday.

“We had a really good car today”, said McMurray. “This is one of my favorite tracks. I’ve always loved coming to Martinsville. It’s a unique race track and I think the guys the guys that enjoy coming here typically run well. You come here and you are kind of at the mercy of your car. It is really slick, it is cold today, you need four or five laps to get going.”

Hamlin, looking to shake off a run of bad luck that has seen him post only one top-10 finish this season, was the 13th driver to take to take a qualifying lap on what he considers his home track.

Hamlin bumped Kurt Busch off the top spot with a lap of 95.995 mph and held the top spot until McMurray came out as the 23rd qualifier and shot to the top of the grid.

Hamlin will roll off fifth for Sunday’s race, looking for his fifth Martinsville win.

“We left a lot out on the table,” said Hamlin of his qualifying effort. “The track is a little different, but I’m happy with where we qualified.  I wish our time was a little bit better.  Qualifying has never been my strong suit.  But, here at this track we’re hot and cold.  We’ve won starting 30th, we won starting on the pole.”

A.J. Allmendinger, Bobby Labonte, David Reutimann, Kevin Harvick and Regan Smith made up the rest of the top-10 qualifiers.

Mark Martin, who will be making his 800th career Sprint Cup start on Sunday, qualified 12th.

Results

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Widia 96.509 19.621 Leader
2 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Haas Automation 96.342 19.655 -0.034
3 4 Kasey Kahne Toyota Red Bull 96.293 19.665 -0.044
4 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 96.219 19.680 -0.059
5 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Ground 95.995 19.726 -0.105
6 43 A.J. Allmendinger Ford Best Buy 95.951 19.735 -0.114
7 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Lance Snacks 95.903 19.745 -0.124
8 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Outdoors Mossy Oak 95.854 19.755 -0.134
9 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser 95.825 19.761 -0.140
10 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies 95.791 19.768 -0.147
11 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Pedigree 95.786 19.769 -0.148
12 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Quaker State / GoDaddy.com 95.714 19.784 -0.163
13 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 95.694 19.788 -0.167
14 6 David Ragan Ford UPS "We Love Logistics" 95.675 19.792 -0.171
15 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet BB&T 95.651 19.797 -0.176
16 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet NIBCO / Menards 95.554 19.817 -0.196
17 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 95.540 19.820 -0.199
18 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 95.477 19.833 -0.212
19 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Dewalt 95.468 19.835 -0.214
20 22 Kurt Busch Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 95.463 19.836 -0.215
21 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger 95.429 19.843 -0.222
22 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 95.386 19.852 -0.231
23 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 95.275 19.875 -0.254
24 21 Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center 95.256 19.879 -0.258
25 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal 95.256 19.879 -0.258
26 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Amp Energy / National Guard 95.185 19.894 -0.273
27 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 95.118 19.908 -0.287
28 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1 95.089 19.914 -0.293
29 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet All Sport Body Quencher 95.079 19.916 -0.295
30 13 Casey Mears Toyota GEICO 95.003 19.932 -0.311
31 38 Travis Kvapil Ford Long John Silver's 94.955 19.942 -0.321
32 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 94.671 20.002 -0.381
33 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M 94.661 20.004 -0.383
34 7 Robby Gordon Dodge Fast Five / Speed Energy 94.548 20.028 -0.407
35 66 Michael McDowell Toyota HP Racing LLC 94.472 20.044 -0.423
36 34 David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell 94.369 20.066 -0.445
37 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AMFMEnergy.com 94.209 20.100 -0.479
38 09 Landon Cassill Chevrolet Thank A Teacher Today / Security Benefit 94.045 20.135 -0.514
39 60 Mike Skinner Toyota Big Red 93.877 20.171 -0.550
40 32 Ken Schrader Ford VA Mortgage Center 93.613 20.228 -0.607
41 46 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Red Line Oil 93.253 20.306 -0.685
42 37 Tony Raines Ford Front Row Motorsports 93.253 20.306 -0.685
43 71 Hermie Sadler Chevrolet Super Eco-Fuel Saver 91.744 20.640 -1.019

+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie

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