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Martin's fourth pole of 2012 stuns rivals

“So in the last eight races he has only participated in three of them?" marvelled Carl Edwards when this was pointed out to him in the post-qualifying press conference. "He is living the dream! He has had a successful career and is able to pick and choose which races he is going to run and he performs well at them. I think that is pretty amazing, especially at his age. He is an inspiration for me as to how well you can do for such a long period.

"I had Mark Martin toys when I was a little kid and here he is," Edwards added. "There are generations of people who have all had little Mark Martin toys and who knows, my kids someday might be racing against the guy. And they will probably be just as frustrated. How old is he? 53? He can probably bench press more than all of us and go faster than all of us. He is a pretty spectacular guy."

Starting in second place alongside Martin, Edwards will have the best early opportunity to take control of proceedings from the veteran. And he needs to seize the opportunity if he's to have any chance of getting into the Chase shootout for the Sprint Cup championship via a "most wins" wildcard.

"I believe a good starting spot is key here," he said. "I think that it will go long green flag runs and if the speeds are as high as they seem to be – at least for the first part of the race it could be pretty tough to pass, so this could be big for us."

On the second row of the grid, Jimmie Johnson will be lining up alongside Edwards' Roush Fenway Racing team mate Matt Kenseth for the start.

"We were in qualifying trim the whole time," admitted Johnson of his Friday activity at Michigan. "In race trim we have a few more things to sort out, but the car's been quick, it's been great." He'll have the chance to work on his race set-up on Saturday morning, when the Cup cars have two practice session opportunities.

Kenseth said that he had benefited from some shade during his qualifying run, which had given him just that critical edge when it came to grip.

"I did the first lap and thought it was good but I thought maybe I could do a little better the second lap," he said. "The car is really good and we drew a cloud, which was good. Hopefully the sun will come back out - I don't know how fast the rest of these guys will go. That was a good lap though."

Johnson's team mate Kasey Kahne - the driver who replaced Mark Martin in the Hendrick Motorsports #5 at the start of 2012 - will start from fifth place, alongside youngster Trevor Bayne.

"Lap one I was just too loose getting into turn one," said Kahne, who was clearly frustrated at not having done even better in qualifying. "It just slid and I tried to get back to the throttle and it slid some more. I knew I had to make a good lap the second lap because I figured we were able to. Between turns one and two I struggled a little bit, even on the second lap I slid a little more than I would have liked. We ended up fifth."




Related Pictures

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Mark Martin signs the Coors Light Pole board after winning the Coors Light Pole for the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Mark Martin and his No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing team celebrate their fourth Coors Light Pole of the 2012 season. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevy Racing)
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Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, leads Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, signs the Coors Light Pole Award backdrop after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career win with a victory lap and checkered flag, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman for Chevy Racing)

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