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Martin clinches pole at Richmond

Anyone who thought that Mark Martin was set to ease himself into retirement has been given a rude awakening, by the 53-year-old rolling back time to take his second pole of 2012.
Remember Mark Martin setting a new record last month for the oldest man to start a Sprint Cup race on pole position? Well, scratch that one, it's been broken. A month and a half older, Martin is not only wiser - he's also still faster.

His qualifying lap of 21.040s (128.327 mph) was 0.006s ahead of Carl Edwards, with the younger man only able to marvel at Martin's longevity and continuing ability to set such high benchmarks at the age of 53 years, 3 months and 19 days.

Martin himself seems to be revelling in the challenge of helping his new team Michael Waltrip Racing step up to the proverbial next level, and reenergised by having opted for a less demanding 26-race partial season in 2012.

"I really want to make MWR better, said Martin. "That's more important to me than anything."

Martin was the last runner in qualifying for Saturday night's Capital City 400 Cup race having earlier topped the earlier practice 1 session on Friday afternoon. The later qualifiers typically benefit from the cooler conditions later in the day, but this time Martin was the only driver late in the session to really challenge for pole, let alone pull it off.

"I was really hoping that [crew chief Rodney Childers] would call me on the first lap and tell me to shut it down," said Martin. "I told him to tell me to shut it down if we happened to get the pole on the first lap. When he didn't, I was afraid, 'Oh, no, we're 15th-fastest. That wasn't near fast enough!

"I was very close to skinning the car up, especially off of 4 on the second lap, and that was my concern. "I was driving as hard as I can go, at the very limit of my talent, for sure. If I keep pushing the limits, I'm going to run out of talent here, one of these days!"

Fans and fellow competitors will be amazed if they ever see such a day come about, however. Meanwhile Edwards was left analysing his own earlier lap to see where he could have shaved off those six thousandths.

"We are happy, that is a good lap," he insisted. "We have a better race trim package than we do a qualifying trim package so I am excited about that."

Kevin Harvick will start from the second row of the grid alongside last weekend's polesitter AJ Allmendinger, a positive qualifying outcome for the Richard Childress Racing driver after a distinctly troubled day of practice.




Related Pictures

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55 Aaron`s Toyota (Mark Martin) [Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Mark Martin, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Capital City 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 27, 2012 in Richmond, Va. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Mark Martin celebrates as he breaks his previous record as oldest Coors Light Pole winner at Richmond (53 years, 3 months, 19 days) on Friday at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS pulls into his pit on his way to a second place finish in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Percision Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
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Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, is interviewed in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Johnny Sauter, driver of the #83 Dustless Blasting Toyota, and AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kroger/USO Chevrolet, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, captures the Daytona 500 pole for the second time in his career Sunday, February 15, 2015 after posting the fastest qualifying time for next Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon, who has said this is his last full season of racing, has won the Daytona 500 three times. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second and will also start from the front row. (Photo by HHP/David Tulis for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, captures the Daytona 500 pole for the second time in his career Sunday, February 15, 2015 after posting the fastest qualifying time for next Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon, shown with his team and crew chief, Alan Gustafson, said this is his last full season of racing. Gordan has won the Daytona 500 three times. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second and will also start from the front row. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, after capturing the Daytona 500 pole for the second time in his career Sunday, February 15, 2015. Gordon posted the fastest qualifying time for next Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Daytona Beach, Florida, which he has won three times. He has said this is his last full season of racing. Johnson qualifies second and will also start from the front row.(Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, captures the Daytona 500 pole for the second time in his career Sunday, February 15, 2015 after posting the fastest qualifying time for next Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon, who has said this is his last full season of racing, has won the Daytona 500 three times. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second and will also start from the front row. (Photo by HHP/Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Crew members work on the #11 FedEx Express Toyota during qualifying for the 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Cole Whitt, driver of the #35 Speed Stick Ford, drives on the grass as cars crowd pit road at the start of qualifying for the 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Reed Sorenson, driver of the #44 Golden Coral Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, Bobby Labonte, driver of the #32 C&J Energy Services Ford, and JJ Yeley, driver of the #23 MAXIM Fantasy App/Dr. Pepper Toyota, are involved in an on track incident during qualifying for the 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, during qualifying for the 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during qualifying for the 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, his crew chief, Alan Gustafson, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, and his crew chief, Chad Knaus, pose with the Daytona 500 Pole Award and Front Row Award after qualifying for the pole position and front row for the 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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