Mark Martin made a lap around Michigan International Speedway in 36.0053 seconds on Friday to claim the pole starting spot for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the track.
“I didn’t almost wreck on the first lap, so I tried to go a little harder on the second lap and there was no way,” Martin said. “I’m designed and geared for one-lap qualifying.”
That didn’t matter, of course, because the first lap was good enough.
The pole is the 55th of Martin’s career and the fourth of 2012, despite Martin only running a partial schedule. It’s his first pole start at Michigan.
“I’m trying to keep a job here,” Martin joked after taking the pole. “So far, it’s going well.”
Carl Edwards qualified second on Friday to join Martin on the front row for Sunday’s event.
“It was a good lap,” Edwards said. “I am surprised how fast Mark’s lap was.”
Jimmie Johnson qualified third, Matt Kenseth was fourth and Kasey Kahne fifth.
Keneseth held the provisional pole for a time, only to be knocked from the top spot on the scoring pylon by his Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Edwards. Edwards’ time of front was relatively short-lived, though, as he was soon replaced by Martin.
Johnson went out last in qualifying after having the fastest car in the qualifying session, but despite his fast car, he was unable to knock Martin from the top spot.
Qualifying sixth through 10th were Trevor Bayne, Martin Truex Jr., Marcos Ambrose, Landon Cassill and Paul Menard.
Forty-five drivers attempted to make the 43-car race field. The two drivers who failed to make the race were Stephen Leicht and J.J. Yeley.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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