Mark Martin Takes Pole of Food City 500

Mark Martin did it again! The NASCAR veteran topped the qualifying session at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday, recording the best time of 15.256 seconds (125.773 mph). The Hendrick Motorsports driver will be joined on the front row of the Food City 500 by the No 39 US Army Chevrolet driven by Ryan Newman.

Martin scored his second consecutive pole in the series, after clinching the front spot in the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway two weeks ago. He therefore matched his previous (and only) back-to-back poles in 1989, when he topped consecutive qualifying sessions and Darlington and Bristol.

“It felt really, really good. The car was really fast and it was really comfortable. With the things that have happened to us in the races, it was good to show people that we've still got speed in the car. We've got speed, and the other part will come around sooner or later,” said the 50-year old driver.

Martin was nothing but unlucky this season, despite scoring some impressive lap times in the qualifying sessions of the previous 4 races. Engine problems (2 times) and blown tires were the main reason why the No 5 Chevrolet from Hendrick Motorsports now rests on a disappointing 34th place in the point standings.

Ryan Newman will start the Sunday race from 2nd place, ending the qualifying session only 0.004 seconds behind Martin.

“Fortunately, it worked out the way it was supposed to, with the exception of the four one-thousandths that we lost by,” said Newman, who was hoping to clinch his 3rd career Sprint pole at Bristol.

The Top 10 – starting in that order – for the Food City 500 on Sunday were Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Casey Kahne, David Reutiman, Reed Sorenson, Dave Blaney, Jamie McMurray and series leader Jeff Gordon.
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