Mark Martin wins Pure Michigan 400 pole

BROOKLYN, MI—  Just like old times at Michigan, Mark Martin is quick. This time, it’s not in a Jack Roush Ford, but in a Michael Waltrip Toyota.

Martin took the pole for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at the two-mile Michigan International Speedway with a lap in 36.053 seconds with an average of 199.706 mph.

“Last time here we thought we had a car that we thought could contend for the pole and it just didn’t give me the right feel up to speed.

“It’s very important to have the feel you need so you can carry momentum into turn one,” said Martin after his lap.

This is the fourth pole of the season for the 53-year old Martin, and his first career pole at Michigan International Speedway.

“”I’m not a two lap kind of qualifying guy, but I really stretched the limits of my talent level qualifying in one lap. I pretty much know I can’t cheat it a second time.

“I tried to today because the first lap was good and it didn’t really have any issues. I tried to run a little quicker the second lap and I didn’t get past turn one.

“A wobble, and it wasn’t going to get it done.”

With his fourth pole of the season, Martin moves into a tie with Bill Elliott for seventh on the all-time pole list in the Cup Series with 55 career poles.

“It’s great when you drive a race car like that where you have what I believe is the fastest race car of the day. An incredible privilege for some at the stage of my career to be able to work with Toyota and Michael Waltrip Racing.”

Carl Edwards will start alongside Martin for Sunday’s race. The two will be followed by Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne to the green flag on Sunday.

Drivers were challenged during the qualifying session by both the track and the weather with clouds covering the speedway during parts of the session, allowing for drivers to set fast laps during the middle of the order.

Dave Blaney,who was the first car to attempt at a timed lap, was forced to abort his qualifying effort after a near scrape with the turn two wall.

Unlike Blaney, Almirola wasn’t as lucky as he crashed his No.43 Ford in the third turn. Almirola will go to a backup car for Sunday’s race.

45 cars attempted to make the race, which meant two cars failed to qualify.

JJ Yeley and Stephen Leicht were the unfortuante drivers that were not able to time their way into the starting field.

Pure Michigan 400 Starting Lineup: 

1: Mark Martin

2: Carl Edwards

3: Jimmie Johnson

4: Matt Kenseth

5: Kasey Kahne

6: Trevor Bayne

7: Martin Truex Jr.

8: Marcos Ambrose

9: Landon Cassill

10: Paul Menard

11: Jeff Gordon

12: Clint Bowyer

13: Greg Biffle

14: Tony Stewart

15: Ryan Newman

16: Joey Logano

17: Parker Kligerman

18: Regan Smith

19: Brad Keselowski

20: Kevin Harvick

21: Denny Hamlin

22: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

23: Kyle Busch

24: Jamie McMurray

25: Juan Pablo Montoya

26: Kurt Busch

27: Reed Sorenson

28: Bobby Labonte

29: Casey Mears

30: Travis Kvapil

31: David Stremme

32: Jeff Burton

33: Jason Leffler

34: Josh Wise

35: Joe Nemechek

36: David Gilliland

37: David Ragan

38: Scott Riggs

39: Mike Skinner

40: David Reutimann

41: TJ Bell

42: Dave Blaney

43: Aric Almirola