Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent
The best was saved for last during pole qualifying on Saturday for Sunday's FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, with the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota of Mark Martin going out last in the session and putting up a lap time of 22.742 seconds to claim the first starting spot.
"That car was loose, but it was bad fast," Martin said soon after climbing out of the No. 55. "I couldn't get it wide open, but that was fast enough."
That car was loose, but it was bad fast.
It was fast enough to knock the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson off the provisional pole at the end of qualifying to claim his fifth pole start at Dover and the 54th of his career. The fifth Dover pole gave Martin the tally of most Sprint Cup poles at Dover among active drivers, breaking the three-way tie with Johnson and Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
"I hate getting beat, but Mark did a great job," Johnson said.
Ryan Newman qualified third with a 22-751-second lap in the No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet.
"It was a good run for the Quicken Loans Chevrolet," Newman said.
Martin's MWR teammate, Clint Bowyer in the No. 15 Toyota, also qualified in the top-four with a 22.778-second lap that was good enough for fourth. Matt Kenseth was fifth in the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford with a lap time of 22.787 seconds.
Brad Keselowski's No. 2 Penske Racing entry was the fastest Dodge in qualifying. His 22.880-second lap earned him the 16th spot on the starting grid.
Forty-five drivers attempted to qualify for the 43-car field. Josh Wise and Cole Whitt failed to get into the race, scheduled to take the green flag shortly after 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.