Johnson Grabs Pole, Logano-Stewart Feud Lingers - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Johnson Grabs Pole, Logano-Stewart Feud Lingers

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With Mike Smith, Martinsville Speedway Director of Public Relations

    Here we go again. Seven-time winner at Martinsville, Five-time Cup Champ Jimmie Johnson is once again at the top of the tower at Martinsville.  He wins the pole in track record time for Sunday's STP® Gas Booster™ 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Johnson's lap of 19.244 seconds (98.400 mph) in a Chevrolet around the .526-mile oval topped the record of 19.306 seconds (98.083 mph), set by Tony Stewart in 2005.

It was the third Martinsville Speedway pole for the seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and 30th career pole.

"That (the record) is icing on the cake. Track records are hard to come by," said Johnson. "I knew right away (in practice) that we would have a shot at the pole; that I would have to do my part on the track."

 Marcos Ambrose nailed down the second starting spot in a Ford with a time of 19.251 seconds (98.364 mph) while Brian Vickers qualified third in a Toyota at 19.266 seconds (98.287 mph). Other drivers bettering the track record included Joey Logano, fourth, Kasey Kahne, fifth, and Jeff Gordon, sixth.

 "It just feels great to get a front row spot," Ambrose said of his second career top-10 start at Martinsville. "We're less than a hundredth away from the top spot and felt like a woulda, shoulda, coulda out there. It was just a little extra time to get the pole, but we'll take it."

 "It was good. Going into it (qualifying) I thought we were a change or two away from a shot at the pole, then after the run I thought we were still a change away from the pole," said Vickers. "I thought it would be a fifth or seventh place. We showed up with a good car and adjusted and worked all day."

Rounding out the top 10 starters for Sunday's race are Brad Keselowski, seventh, Matt Kenseth, eighth, Carl Edwards, ninth and defending race winner Ryan Newman, 10th.

 Before qualifying the drivers spoke their minds about the running feud between Tony Stewart and Joey Logano on Logano's late race "block" of Stewart. Stewart told the media he didn't feel the need to defend himself--that the three Cup titles in 15 years equates to not making that many bad decisions. He says he disagrees with Joey Logano's take on the block, simple as that.

 Martinsville 2013 Schedule:

Friday, April 5 -- Martinsville Pole Day
Saturday, April 6 --
Kroger 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race
Sunday, April 7 --
STP Gas Booster 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Race
Sunday, October 6 --
Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 Late Model Stock race
Friday, October 25 --
Martinsville Pole Day
Saturday, October 26 --
Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race
Sunday, October 27 --
Goody's Fast Relief 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race

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