Mark Martin claims his 56th career pole in Phoenix

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Mark Martin knocked Kasey Kahne off the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series provisional pole at PIR to add to his career tally.

Mark Martin made a lap around Phoenix International Raceway in 26.073 seconds Friday evening in the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota to claim the pole starting spot for Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the track.

"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."

The pole is the second-straight in the March PIR race for Martin and the No. 55 team.

When Martin made his qualifying attempt, he knocked the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Kasey Kahne off the provisional pole, but Kahne's lap time of 26.113 seconds held up for second, allowing him to start on the front row alongside Martin on Sunday.

Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon
Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

"I thought it was good for going out early," Kahne said of his lap time.

Lap times were expected to pick up throughout the qualifying session, with track temperatures cooling and several fast cars going out late in the session.

"If this were a night qualifying session, I think we'd blow the old track record out of the water," Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Penske Racing Ford said early in the session.

But top speeds came relatively early in the session, with the exception of the third-fastest lap time of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson. With a time of 26.124 seconds, Johnson qualified third after his car had an extended stay in the laser portion of the inspection process.

Kyle Busch qualified fourth in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top-five in qualifying in his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Ford was shut out of the top-10. Keselowski's Ford turned in the fastest time among the Ford camp, qualifying 11th.

The late withdrawal of Michael McDowell and the No. 98 Phil Parsons Racing Ford team left only 43 cars attempting to qualify on Friday. As a result, everyone who made qualifying attempts earned spots on the starting grid. The team decided they didn't have enough new cars built to make a race attempt at Phoenix, despite coming off a ninth-place finish last weekend in the Daytona 500.

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Qualifying report
Tags chevrolet, ford, johnson, kahne, keselowski, mark martin, michael waltrip racing, nascar-cup, phoenix, pir, sprint cup, toyota