Martin grabs pole at Phoenix

Mark Martin turned in a 26.073-second lap at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday evening that handed him the pole starting spot for Sunday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500. It’s the second-straight pole for Martin in the yearly March race at Phoenix.

“Man, (crew chief) Rodney Childers and all the guys on the Aaron’s Dream machine are on it,” Martin said, excited about the speed of his car. “They make great decisions, put me in great race cars.”

Kasey Kahne claimed the other front-row spot on the starting grid for Sunday’s race with a lap time of 26.113 seconds.

“I thought it was good for going out early,” Kahne said.

Claiming second-row starting spots were Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. Jeff Gordon rounded out the top-five. Ford was absent from the top-10 in qualifying, with Brad Keselowski turning in the fastest Ford lap, 11th overall. Another Ford driver, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., was 12th.

Only 43 cars made qualifying attemps, so all who made qualifying laps on Friday received spots on the starting grid. Forty-four cars were on the original entry list, but Daytona 500 ninth-place finisher Michael McDowell withdrew before qualifying, because his Phil Parson’s Racing team is short on race cars.

– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR

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