Sunday, October 23, 2011

Martin Captures Talladega Sprint Cup Race Pole

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR

A wide-open 2011 NASCAR Chase and a track known for unpredictable auto action, the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams revisit the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway. While qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Good Sam Club 500 is not an incredibly important ingredient to victory at the restrictor plate race track, a top starting spot improves the options early for drivers and teams.

Drawing 42nd of the 47 cars qualifying, Mark Martin's and #5 Chevy swept past his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson for the top spot. Lapping the 2.66-mile superspeedway oval at 181.367 miles per hour, this pole at Talladega becomes Martin's 50th in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career and first since the 2010 Daytona 500. A track Martin himself called "The Lottery", the Talladega Superspeedway race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule his entire Hendrick Motorsports team is starting where the team left off following the spring event. With Martin and the #48 Chevy of Johnson on the front row, the remaining two cars of Hendrick Motorsports rests in the third row. Jeff Gordon starting 5th and Dale Earnhardt Jr in the field 6th, the four-car Chevrolet team is certified to be a race contender this fall event.

In the second row between Hendrick Motorsports cars, the #33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Clint Bowyer along with the 2011 Daytona 500 winning combination of Trevor Bayne and the #21 Wood Brothers Ford collected mounted successful qualifying attempts for top starting positions. In 7th through 10th place starting the Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway will be Paul Menard, David Ragan, Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman.

As the halfway point for the 2011 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, Carl Edwards leads by 5 points over Kevin Harvick and 7 points ahead of Roush Fenway Racing driver Matt Kenseth. While Edwards starts in the top-10 in his #99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, his teammate Matt Kenseth's #17 car rolls off 11th while the #29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick starts 13th at Talladega. Fourth in points, Kyle Busch starts well in the back of the 43-car field for what was a lackluster qualifying for the entire Joe Gibbs Racing team. While Denny Hamlin will lead the Toyota squad from 31st place in the Good Sam Club 500, Kyle Busch starts 34th just ahead of Joey Logano. Expect these cars to work together on their way to the front at Talladega Superspeedway

Weeks before Talladega, NASCAR announced a series of rule changes designed to lessen the use of the "two-car tandem" where a pair of vehicles are engaged in aggressive drafting. A new restrictor plate increasing power by up to an estimated 10 horsepower, NASCAR also prevented teams from using anti-friction lubricants on the race car's bumper. Some teams, namely the Richard Childress Racing organization, concocted alternative methods of 'greasing' the bumpers by using slippery tape and adhesives.

The fifth race remaining in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, the Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway is set to start Sunday at 2 PM Eastern time. Weather forecasts call for a warm and partly sunny day.

2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup
Good Sam Club 500
Talladega Superspeedway
Starting Line-up

  1. 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet
  2. 48 Jimmie Johnson mylowes Chevrolet
  3. 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 100 Years Chevrolet
  4. 21 Trevor Bayne Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
  5. 24 Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
  6. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Diet Mountain Dew Paint the 88/National Guard Chevrolet
  7. 27 Paul Menard Serta/Menards Chevrolet
  8. 6 David Ragan UPS My Choice Ford
  9. 99 Carl Edwards Subway Ford
  10. 39 Ryan Newman U.S. ARMY Chevrolet
  11. 17 Matt Kenseth Jeremiah Weed Ford
  12. 14 Tony Stewart El Monterey/Office Depot Chevrolet
  13. 29 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's Chevrolet
  14. 22 Kurt Busch Shell Pennzoil Dodge
  15. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Energizer Chevrolet
  16. 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Dodge
  17. 38 Travis Kvapil Long John Silver's Ford
  18. 16 Greg Biffle 3M Ford
  19. 9 Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford
  20. 97 Kevin Conway Extenze Toyota
  21. 47 Bobby Labonte Scott Products Toyota
  22. 78 Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet
  23. 15 Michael Waltrip Aaron's/Darrell Waltrip NASCAR Hall of Fame Toyota
  24. 43 AJ Allmendinger Best Buy Ford
  25. 31 Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
  26. 4 Kasey Kahne Red Bull Toyota
  27. 87 Joe Nemechek AM/FM Energy Pellet & Wood Stoves Toyota
  28. 55 JJ Yeley Front Row Motorsports Ford
  29. 66 Michael McDowell HP Racing, LLC Toyota
  30. 83 Brian Vickers Red Bull Toyota
  31. 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Office Toyota
  32. 32 Terry Labonte C&J Energy Ford
  33. 71 Andy Lally TRG Motorsports Ford
  34. 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Halloween Toyota
  35. 20 Joey Logano The Home Depot Toyota
  36. 0 David Reutimann Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
  37. 56 Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
  38. 51 Landon Cassill Phoenix Construction/Thank A Teacher Today Chevrolet
  39. 7 Robby Gordon SPEED Energy/MAPEI Dodge
  40. 35 Geoffrey Bodine Luke & Associates Inc. Chevrolet
  41. 1 Jamie McMurray Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet
  42. 34 David Gilliland World Hunger Relief/ Ford
  43. 36 Dave Blaney Golden Corral Chevrolet
  44. 46 Scott Speed Red Line Ford
  45. 77 TJ Bell TRG Motorsports Ford
  46. 37 Josh Wise Bradley University Ford
  47. 13 Casey Mears GEICO Toyota

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