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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)
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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualifies fourth Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies fifth Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, right, poses with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert and the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 11, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Patriotic Chevrolet SS, qualified fifth Friday, July 4, 2014 for Saturday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Johnson is 2nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Kroger/P&G Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300 at Kentucky Speedway on June 27, 2014 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway on June 27, 2014 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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