NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson takes Martinsville pole - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson takes Martinsville pole

Posted: Updated:

HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
 
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) - Jimmie Johnson knew he had a fast car the minute he pulled it onto the track at Martinsville Speedway.
 
The seven-time winner on NASCAR's shortest, trickiest track backed it up in qualifying with a track record.
 
Johnson made his fastest lap around the 0.526-mile oval at 98.400 mph Friday, leading a parade of six drivers who broke Tony Stewart's track record speed of 98.083 mph. It is Johnson's 30th career pole, and third in 23 starts at Martinsville.
 
"That's the icing on the cake," Johnson said when told of the record. "That makes the day even better yet. Track records are hard to come by, so I'm very proud of that and happy to have that."
 
Once he figured out how fast his car was, Johnson said, "I just needed to do my job and not mess up."
 
The pole position is coveted at Martinsville as much as anywhere because pit road is tight, and the spot at the front of pit road gives the driver unencumbered access to the track. It is essentially the automatic stall selection of the pole sitter.
 
"If you get behind or if you're off-strategy or if you have any reason that leads you to lose track position, that pit stall is worth three to five positions on the race track," Johnson said. "It's a big, big advantage from that perspective."
 
Five other drivers also eclipsed Stewart's mark on a cooling, later afternoon surface, led by Marcos Ambrose at 98.364.
 
Ambrose arrived 23rd in points after five races, and hopes the strong showing turns into momentum.
 
"Yeah, it can turn us around, no doubt," Ambrose said. "We proved today that if we get our stuff right we can do it. We've just got to get some momentum and get some confidence back. Our little team is a tough team, but we've been knocked around pretty good.  It's like we've gone nine rounds with Mike Tyson, but we're coming back strong here."
 
He was followed by Brian Vickers, Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon.
 
The race is one of nine Vickers will run for Michael Waltrip Racing in a job share with Mark Martin and Waltrip.
 
"It was two spots not good enough, but it was good," Vickers said.
 
Stewart, whose team has struggled through the first five races of the season, qualified 26th and Danica Patrick, a rookie driving one of his cars, qualified 32nd in her first career appearance at the shortest track run in NASCAR's premier series.
 
Points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 17th.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • April Mugshots

    April Mugshots

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:42 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:42:32 GMT
    Thomas Allen WinstonThomas Allen Winston
    The following are mugshots and charges of individuals arrested between April 1-4 by the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.
    The following are mugshots and charges of individuals arrested between April 1-4 by the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.
  • 12-year-old accidentally kills little brother in Franklin Co.

    12-year-old accidentally kills little brother in Franklin Co.

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:24 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:24:35 GMT
    The Franklin County Sheriff's Office says a 12-year-old year boy accidentally killed his 7-year-old brother. Deputies received a 911 call about shots fired on Tuesday, April 21 stat 11:46 a.m.
    The Franklin County Sheriff's Office says a 12-year-old year boy accidentally killed his 7-year-old brother. Deputies received a 911 call about shots fired on Tuesday at 11:46 a.m.
  • 29 Virginia High Schools on Personal Finance Top-100 List

    29 Virginia High Schools on Personal Finance Top-100 List

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 9:32 PM EDT2014-04-23 01:32:06 GMT
    29 schools in the Commonwealth, including many in our area, ranked the the nation's top 100 best high schools for personal finance instruction.
    29 schools in the Commonwealth, including many in our area, ranked the the nation's top 100 best high schools for personal finance instruction.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.