McMurray steals pole at Martinsville

Jamie McMurray took home his second pole on the 2014 season.

In NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifications at the Martinsville Speedway on Friday afternoon, Jamie McMurray grabbed the pole position for Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500, the first race in the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Driving the McDonald’s Chevrolet, McMurray zipped around the tight half-mile track at a speed of 99.905 miles per hour.

“This is a good start to our weekend and getting that first pit stall is a big deal,” McMurray said.

Jamie (McMurray) laid down a helluva lap

Joey Logano

“I got to have it before, and it is critical in being able to win the race. We had a good test here, and our cars have been so quick the last 2 or 3 months. When things are going well, you get excited about coming back to the track. That test helped us earn the pole today.

“My guys did a really good job adjusting on our McDonald’s Chevy for the second run, and that was a difference maker. It is amazing we spent all these years running slower on scuffed tires and now all of a sudden, we are able to run quicker on scuffed tires.”

McMurray earned his second pole of season and second-ever at Martinsville and for his career, he registered his 11th pole.

Joey Logano put the Shell Pennzoil Ford on the outside of the front row with a run of 99.605 mph.

Said Logano, “We are pleased with second, but it is not first although we were close. Jamie (McMurray) laid down a helluva lap. A half of a 10th sounds like nothing but at Martinsville that’s quite a bit. We have a fast Ford, and we were decent in race trim earlier today. Overall, we laid down a decent lap and I thought after the first round we were in decent shape. It went well but we came up a little bit short.”

Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart earned second row starting spots with speeds of 99.318 and 99.297 mph, respectively. Chase contenders Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski took row three with Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch immediately behind them. Next in the speed line were Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer. Six of the top-12 qualifiers are Chase contenders.

The best of the rest

In the 30-minute opening round of qualifications, Kenseth led the way with a speed of 99.816 miles per hour. Following Kenseth was McMurray, Hamlin, Johnson, Keselowski, Bowyer, Logano, Kyle Busch, Newman, Kurt Busch, Edwards and Stewart.

Failing to gain a top-12 starting position for Sunday’s long race was practice leader Jeff Gordon (13th) along with Dale Earnhardt Jr. (23rd), Kasey Kahne (24th) and Kevin Harvick (33rd). 43 cars were on hand, and all will start Sunday’s race.

The Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 will be telecast by ESPN at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Martinsville II
Sub-event Friday qualifying
Track Martinsville Speedway
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Kasey Kahne , Carl Edwards , Clint Bowyer , Brad Keselowski , Denny Hamlin , Joey Logano , Kyle Busch
Article type Qualifying report