Dale Earnhardt, Jr. paced the field during Saturday's final practice for Cup teams at Martinsville. Earnhardt's speed of 92.012 mph bested second place Jimmie Johnson by 0.058 second. Earnhardt led the most laps in this event last year, but finished third.
"We came here and tested a couple of years ago and got a great set up," Earnhardt commented. "We got to use the basis of that set up ever since then and kind of tweaked it every time we come here for weather and move a few things around. I'm real happy the way my car has drove the past several races here."
Earnhardt looks for his third win of the season on Sunday. He has a series-best four straight top-five finishes at Martinsville, and has started in the top ten for six consecutive races.
He will take the green flag from the fourth spot tomorrow.
Series point leader Kurt Busch had the third fastest lap at 91.678 mph.
"We do have our win here at Martinsville," Busch said. "But that was just due to being in a good place and a key position at the end of the race. Being able to make a car turn and still have forward bite is something that drivers struggle with all the time and when you're at a short track, if your car isn't quite handling right, you just have to drive it."
Pole sitter Jeff Gordon charted a speed of 91.669 mph to land fourth quickest. Gordon is clearly the man to beat this weekend. In 22 Martinsville starts, he has five wins, four poles and 12 top-five results.
"I love Martinsville, because I run well there," said Gordon. "I pretty much grew up on short tracks and I really enjoy short-track competition. I think we need to have short tracks on our schedule, it offers the excitement that fans love to see."
Ryan Newman completes the top five, matching Gordon's time of 91.669 mph.
"We got our first top five here last fall," said Newman. "It's all about managing your tires, your brakes, your car and your patience at the same time."
Jeff Burton driving the No. 99 Roush Ford crumpled his primary car in final practice. Burton's team was preparing their back-up car, and will have to start at the rear of the field for Sunday's event.