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Martin edges Johnson for Dover pole

NASCAR Sprint Cup
Saturday, June 02, 2012

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Mark Martin
The old man did it again.

Mark Martin, 53, the last driver to make a qualifying attempt Saturday at Dover International Speedway, ran 0.005 seconds faster than Jimmie Johnson to secure the top starting spot for Sunday's FedEx 400.

The Coors Light pole award was Martin's third of the season, his fifth at Dover and the 54th of his career, eighth most all-time. It didn't come easily. Martin, posted a lap at 158.297 mph (22.742 seconds), but had to push his car beyond the edge to nip Johnson (158.263 mph) for the top spot on the grid.

"I'll never do that again," quipped Martin after his run. "I anticipated the car being loose, but I didn't ask [crew chief] Rodney [Childers] if he tightened it up. I knew the conditions were looser than they were in our mock qualifying run [Friday], and I didn't want to ask him because I didn't want to be concerned.

"I knew that I only had to make it one mile without wrecking, and I was going to drive to the limit and slightly beyond, and I felt like I did that. I wouldn't want to do that again. But I couldn't sit on these poles without the fastest race car, and MWR [Michael Waltrip Racing] and Rodney Childers in particular and the guys on our team are doing that."

Ryan Newman (158.235 mph) qualified third, followed by Clint Bowyer (158.047 mph) and Matt Kenseth (157.985 mph). Kevin Harvick, series leader Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin will start from positions six through 10, respectively.

Martin's last-ditch effort prevented Johnson from claiming his first Cup pole since Sept. 26, 2010, at Dover.

"The lap was pretty strong," Johnson said of his second-place run. "I knew off the corner, off [Turns] 2 and 4, I just couldn't get the power down, being loose, and I left a little on the table. I felt it was more like a 10th [of a second], 10th and a half that I left out there, and Mark found five thousandths ...

"Qualifying's never been my strong suit, but I've been second a lot. But it is what it is. On the track, I'll just have to take care of it and do a little better job there."

Lineup

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 55 Mark Martin Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine 158.297 22.742 Leader
2 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's Madagascar 158.263 22.747 -0.005
3 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Quicken Loans 158.235 22.751 -0.009
4 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy 158.047 22.778 -0.036
5 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Best Buy 157.985 22.787 -0.045
6 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Jimmy Johns 157.867 22.804 -0.062
7 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M / Heilind (EMD) 157.839 22.808 -0.066
8 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's 157.839 22.808 -0.066
9 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Construction Services 157.611 22.841 -0.099
10 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight / Autism Speaks 157.549 22.850 -0.108
11 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot 157.542 22.851 -0.109
12 43 Aric Almirola Ford Jani-King / Smithfield 157.494 22.858 -0.116
13 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet HendrickCars.com 157.418 22.869 -0.127
14 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 157.405 22.871 -0.129
15 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet BB&T 157.363 22.877 -0.135
16 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite 157.343 22.880 -0.138
17 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet AMP Energy / Diet Mtn. Dew / National Guard 157.329 22.882 -0.140
18 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 157.178 22.904 -0.162
19 99 Carl Edwards Ford Subway 157.061 22.921 -0.179
20 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Menards / Pittsburgh Paints 156.822 22.956 -0.214
21 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley 156.822 22.956 -0.214
22 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Scott Products 156.781 22.962 -0.220
23 22 AJ Allmendinger Dodge Shell / Pennzoil 156.637 22.983 -0.241
24 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Allstate 156.563 22.994 -0.252
25 179 Scott Speed Ford Team Kyle / Koma Unwind 156.488 23.005 -0.263
26 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / CSX "Play it Safe" 156.460 23.009 -0.267
27 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 156.270 23.037 -0.295
28 34 David Ragan Ford MHP / 8 Hour Alert 156.216 23.045 -0.303
29 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Mobil 1 / Office Depot 156.121 23.059 -0.317
30 38 David Gilliland Ford Autism Speaks 155.723 23.118 -0.376
31 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 155.676 23.125 -0.383
32 30 David Stremme Toyota Inception Motorsports 155.266 23.186 -0.444
33 98 Michael McDowell Ford Phil Parsons Racing 154.912 23.239 -0.497
34 249 J.J. Yeley Toyota America Israel Racing / JPO Absorbents 154.672 23.275 -0.533
35 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves 154.559 23.292 -0.550
36 119 Mike Bliss Toyota Humphrey Smith Racing 154.559 23.292 -0.550
37 33 Stephen Leicht* Chevrolet Little Joes Autos.com 154.480 23.304 -0.562
38 32 Reed Sorenson Ford FAS Lane Racing 154.096 23.362 -0.620
39 10 David Reutimann Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 154.024 23.373 -0.631
40 13 Casey Mears+ Ford GEICO 153.866 23.397 -0.655
41 36 Dave Blaney+ Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing 153.702 23.422 -0.680
42 93 Travis Kvapil+ Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper 153.584 23.440 -0.698
43 23 Scott Riggs Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 154.480 23.304 -0.562
DNQ 26 Josh Wise* Ford MDS Transport 154.288 23.333 -0.591
DNQ 74 Cole Whitt Chevrolet Turn One Racing 154.242 23.340 -0.598

+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie

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