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Bristol qualifying: Martin on pole

BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 21, 2009) – Mark Martin scored his fourth pole position of the 2009 season during Friday’s qualifying session at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Martin, driver of the No. 5 Pop-Tarts/CARQUEST Chevrolet, circled the racetrack in 15.414 seconds at a speed of roughly 124.484 mph. This is the ninth pole position – a personal record – for Martin at Bristol and the 46th of his career.

“I feel like I just got a 200-pound gorilla off my back,” said Martin, who on Saturday will be making his 1,000th start in a NASCAR-sanctioned event. “We got a great lap again. So that was really good. It’s a big shot in the arm. It’s huge. All these guys on this team mean so much to me, and they dig so hard. They give me such great race cars and we’re just trying to let our performance do our work for us. We can’t so a whole lot about the racing gods, but if we put our performance out there on the race track, we hope that takes care of us.”

This is the seventh time this season that Martin has scored a spot on the front row. Overall, a Hendrick Chevrolet has started on the front row 16 times in 24 Cup events this year.

Martin’s teammates didn’t fare as well during Friday’s qualifying session. Jimmie Johnson slipped some on the racetrack in his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet and qualified 21st. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will line up 27th for Saturday’s event in his specially-painted No. 88 AMP Energy Sugar Free/National Guard Chevrolet. Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, will roll off the grid in 33rd.

Race coverage will begin Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, and the green flag is scheduled to drop at 7:30 p.m.


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