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Martin clinches pole at Richmond

“We have had a terrible race car all day to be honest with you," said Harvick. "We just sat in the trailer after practice and said that what we had wasn't cutting what we needed to in the center of the corner and up off.

"So we went back to our notes from last year and were able to make some small adjustments to that and that is why you have notebooks," he continued. "It has worked out good and hopefully we can do the same for the race and make it a little bit better than what we were last year.”

Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon took the third row of the grid, with Gordon feeling pretty happy with the outcome. "It was a pretty good lap; you know the car was well-balanced," he said after his run. "You know it's just something we have been struggling with in practice and I felt like we guessed really well today."

He pointed out, "It's such a guessing game just in the track temps coming down. The track picks up so much speed so I am anxious to see where we end up."

Other notable qualifying outcomes include Kurt Busch in a strong 13th place for Phoenix Racing, his Friday night win in the Nationwide Series likely to put a spring in his step as he approaches the Saturday Cup event. "We will get beat by some of the other guys, but all-in-all we just needed to get the car to feel the four tyres and we got that so far," he said.

He'll start just ahead of Marcos Ambrose in 14th, while Brad Keselowski will start from 16th, Juan Montoya from 20th and Tony Stewart from 22nd. Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle will be disappointed to qualify in 27th and 28th respectively, however, especially as Biffle had started the day with second-fastest time behind Martin in practice 1 which meant that he was the penultimate qualifier.

"I don't know what happened there," he admitted. "I just guess we didn't have the grip we needed. I was probably just a little bit tight in the centre I guess and that was all the grip I had. It was all that I could do."

Earlier, Paul Menard had crashed at the exit of turn 4 during the first practice session and needed to take to the back-up car. Team owner Richard Childress said that a nut had fallen off the throttle of the #27 and stuck the engine wide open, leaving Menard unable to do anything to avoid the accident.

"The throttle broke," Menard confirmed. "It hung open as I was coming out onto the straightaway so my foot wasn't on the brake and I tried kicking it back even after I hit the wall. It was still hung open so I just laid on the brake and it shut off like it was supposed to."

Since the accident happened before qualifying, Menard won't incur any penalties for witching to the back-up car. "The primary was good and I am sure the back-up will be good,” he said, going on to qualify for the race in 31st position.




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 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, pits along with the rest of the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, races Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ford, during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
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Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, qualified for third position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Larson is 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualified for seventh position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualified for sixth position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Johnson is seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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