It seems rain is going to play games with NASCAR this season. Luckily the rain moved out and by the time it was ready for NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, the track was good to go.
When qualifying was all done, Kyle Busch scored his 14th Coors Light Pole Award with a lap of 18.998 seconds, 99.674 mph. It also marks the third straight pole for Joe Gibbs Racing.
“It feels good to put the M&M’s Camry on the pole here at Martinsville is something that doesn’t happen very often — at least with me behind the wheel,” Busch commented. “It certainly is a great day for us and the whole team — Dave Rogers (crew chief) and everybody. They did a great job. We unloaded with a fast car and we tried to dial it in as best we could with race trim and then right there at the last second we did a qualifying run and that was about all we got.
Here is a round-by-round recap of qualifying.
Prior to taking to the track for his qualifying run in round one, Carl Edwards commented on having the first garage stall, which he got due to being the points leader. Edwards stated that having the first garage stall is pretty nice, and is a testament to how hard his team has worked to get where they are. He also said regarding the qualifying, “Hopefully we will be good in qualifying. I wasn’t going to be mad if it rained all day, but it didn’t so we have to go earn it now.” Edwards qualified in the eighth position for Sunday’s running of the STP 500.
Based on round one, it looked at if Joey Logano would be on the pole as he posted the quickest time in round one with a speed of 100.201 mph (18.898 seconds) to set a new track record. Most drivers ran three laps, with a few opting to run four.
Phoenix race winner Kevin Harvick’s car did not show a lot of speed in practice and he wasn’t happy with the car as they weren’t able to tighten it up.
The 12 cars to advance to round two were: 1) Joey Logano, 2) Denny Hamlin, 3) Kyle Busch, 4) Jamie McMurray, 5) Matt Kenseth, 6) Jeff Gordon, 7) Jimmie Johnson, 8) Carl Edwards, 9) Clint Bowyer, 10) Greg Biffle, 11) Danica Patrick, and 12) Tony Stewart
In the second round Logano and Kyle Busch seemed like they were going to be the ones to beat for the pole position. For the first time all of the Joe Gibbs cars made it into Round Two. In the second round many drivers’ qualifying times did not change much due to the tire wear after the first round.
There seemed to be one driver that had something left for the final round and that driver was Kyle Busch. He would take his first ever pole at Martinsville Speedway, and his first pole in 23 races. One of Kyle’s comments was, “It’s Martinsville, we get to sit on the pole so that is pretty cool. There is a first for everything, I guess, so this is pretty neat.”
Here are your top 12 starters for Sunday’s STP 500
1) Kyle Busch, 2) Denny Hamlin 3) Joey Logano 4) Jimmie Johnson 5) Jeff Gordon 6) Matt Kenseth 7) Tony Stewart 8) Carl Edwards 9) Jamie McMurray 10) Danical Patrick 11) Greg Biffle 12) Clint Bowyer
Noteworthy: Danica Patrick’s 10th place starting position is her best non-restrictor plate starting spot.