Stewart wins Martinsville pole

Martinsville, VA---Tony Stewart may soon learn to like Martinsville Speedway. Stewart, who doesn't care for the tight confines of the demanding .526-mile track which always produces bumping and banging, broke his own track record Friday to win...

Martinsville, VA---Tony Stewart may soon learn to like Martinsville Speedway. Stewart, who doesn't care for the tight confines of the demanding .526-mile track which always produces bumping and banging, broke his own track record Friday to win the Bud Pole Position for Sunday's $2,115,007, 45th annual NAPA AutoCare 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race. Leading a three-car assault on the record, that produced the closest top 25 in the track's 53-year history, Stewart hit a fast lap of 95.371 miles per hour in the Home Depot Pontiac to erase his own mark of 95.275 miles per hour he set in April last year. Rusty Wallace in the Miller Lite Ford and Jeff Burton in the Exide Batteries Ford also broke the old record. Wallace had a lap of 95.338 miles per hour and Burton turned 95.319 miles per hour. "We had a great car all day," Stewart said, "but this hasn't been one of my favorite race tracks. The people here are what make this place special. I've just never gotten around here very well, that's for sure. This place is one of the toughest to get around. You've got to hit your marks every lap to be good here. "But even if you have the fastest car, this can be a real rough place. This is a tough track for me. This is probably the toughest track I've tried to conquer. I get very impatient and that's what causes me a lot of problems here. I have to learn to be patient and take care of my equipment." It was Stewart's second pole of the season and he has four wins but is seeking his first on this historic track that opened in 1947. "Well, we got close but at least we're in the front row and that feels good," Wallace said. "It should be a real good race and we'll all have a shot at it." Burton's brother, Ward, qualified fourth in the Caterpillar Pontiac at 95.175. "This is a big race for both of us since we're from Virginia," said Jeff, who hails from nearby South Boston, VA with his brother. Completing the top ten were defending champion Jeff Gordon, Kenny Wallace, Bobby Hamilton, Mike Skinner, Brett Bodine and Steve Park. A record .182 seconds and .866 miles per hour separated the top 25 qualifiers who locked up starting positions.

Dale Earnhardt, second in NASCAR Winston Cup points, qualified 12th and leader Bobby Labonte 14th. Labonte has a 249-point edge with seven races remaining.

. Jay Godbey of Charlotte, NC won the Anderson Tractor/John Deere Challenge 30-lap Intermedia Allison Legacy Series race with Mike Smith of Akron, Ohio second and Danny Keaton of Charlotte, NC third. .

NASCAR Featherlite Modifieds practice at 8 a.m. Saturday with second round Winston Cup qualifying at 11:15 a.m. to complete the 43-car field. Modifieds time trial at 11:30 a.m. with Happy Hour for Winston Cup cars at 1 p.m. The $87,211 Goody's Body Pain 200 for Modifieds starts at 3 p.m. and tickets are $30 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12 and are unreserved. Sunday's NAPA AutoCare 500 starts at 1 p.m. and reserved seats still are available. They may be ordered by calling toll free at 877-722-3849 or 540-956-2151.

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Brett Bodine , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Kenny Wallace , Steve Park. , Mike Smit