Stewart Races To SUBWAY 500 Pole In Record Fashion MARTINSVILLE, VA (October 21, 2005) - Tony Stewart led a blistering attack on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series track record at Martinsville Speedway Friday afternoon while winning the pole for the...
Stewart Races To SUBWAY 500 Pole In Record Fashion
MARTINSVILLE, VA (October 21, 2005) - Tony Stewart led a blistering attack on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series track record at Martinsville Speedway Friday afternoon while winning the pole for the SUBWAY 500.
Stewart's lap of 19.306 seconds (98.083 mph) shattered the mark of 19.513 seconds (97.043 mph) set by Ryan Newman a year ago. In all, 11 drivers bettered Newman's old mark.
"It was just a solid lap," Stewart said of his qualifying run. "We spent the first hour of practice in race trim, knowing that the weather might be bad tomorrow. We may lose some track time. So, we spent the first hour doing that and switched over to qualifying trim and we knew then what we know now. So I was really happy with it."
Stewart's pole victory was the 10th of his career and his third of 2005 and it is his third Martinsville pole victory.
Ricky Rudd posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 19.324 seconds (97.992 mph) in the Wood Brothers Ford. It was Rudd's best qualifying effort of the season.
Rounding out the top five in qualifying were Rusty Wallace, who will be making his final Martinsville start Sunday, third, Ryan Newman, fourth, and rookie Denny Hamlin, fifth. Hamlin posted his second top-10 start in his three-race NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career. He started seventh at Kansas City.
"It was a good lap for us," said Hamlin, who lives in Chesterfield, VA. "We picked up a 10th in qualifying. It was a great lap in the FedEx Chevrolet and I'm excited about the race."
Rudd's qualifying effort was his best since he started on the pole at Talladega in April of 2004.
"The car's been really good since we unloaded," said Rudd, who did an extended tire test for Goodyear at Martinsville a couple of weeks ago. "The Motorcreaft Taurus has been fast right off the truck. Everybody on the Wood Brothers team has done a heck of a job preparing this race car."
Jimmie Johnson, who is tied with Stewart for the lead in the Chase For The NEXTEL Cup, was sixth fastest in his Chevrolet.
Jeremy Mayfield was seventh fastest in a Dodge, followed by Joe Nemechek, Elliott Sadler and Bobby Labonte.
Five of the 10 drivers in the Chase For The NEXTEL Cup - Stewart Johnson, Newman, Wallace and Mayfield - qualified in the top 10. Other Chase contenders and their starting positions are: Kurt Busch, 14th, Carl Edwards, 18th, Greg Biffle, 22nd, Matt Kenseth, 17th and Mark Martin, sixth.
Action returns to Martinsville Speedway Saturday with the Kroger 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, scheduled to take the green flag at 1:15 p.m. There will also be two NEXEL Cup Series practice session Saturday, one at 9:30 a.m., the other at 11:10 a.m. Tickets for the day are $40 at the gate.