Pole-Winner Hamlin Has Eye On Special Martinsville Speedway Trophy MARTINSVILLE, VA (March 30, 2007) -- Denny Hamlin has wanted one of Martinsville Speedway's storied grandfather clock trophies since he first started racing on the half-mile oval...
Pole-Winner Hamlin Has Eye On Special Martinsville Speedway Trophy
MARTINSVILLE, VA (March 30, 2007) -- Denny Hamlin has wanted one of Martinsville Speedway's storied grandfather clock trophies since he first started racing on the half-mile oval a half-dozen years ago.
He took a giant step toward claiming one Friday afternoon when he captured the pole for Sunday's Goody's Cool Orange 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Martinsville Speedway.
Hamlin's speed of 95.103 mph (19.911 seconds) bettered the speed of Jamie McMurray, who turned a lap of 94.955 mph to claim second.
Seven-time Martinsville winner Jeff Gordon nailed down the third spot at 94.851 mph. Ken Schrader and J.J. Yeley, in surprising runs, filled out the top five. Schrader, driving the Wood Brothers Ford, earnhed his best qualifying run in some time with a speed of 94.623 mph. Yeley was a tick back at 94.562 mph.
Hamlin had a couple of shots at one of Martinsville's grandfather clock trophies when he competed in the Bailey's 300 Late Model Stock race, but came up short. Last fall in the SUBWAY 500, he was one aggressive move from bumping eventual winner Jimmy Johnson out of the way and taking home the clock.
A couple of weeks ago Hamlin was on hand to help with the unveiling of the 60th anniversary grandfather clock, which made him want the trophy even more.
"It definitely means a lot to me. I sat here and we unveiled the 60th anniversary trophy and that was a moment where I was definitely excited about coming back to Martinsville," said Hamlin. "You always see it on the schedule and it means a lot to come back here knowing I got so many laps here. That trophy in specific is one that I would really love to have and have missed out so many times."
McMurray's outside pole was by far his best qualifying effort of the season.
"Martinsville has always been a good place for me," McMurray said after the strong run in a Ford. "Our team has been so good lately that when you get to come somewhere that you like and you've got a little momentum, it makes it more exciting."
Rounding out the top-10 qualifiers were Kevin Harvick in sixth, followed by Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards and Johnny Sauter.