Busch Takes Martinsville Pole

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MARTINSVILLE, Va. - Kurt Busch isn't in the "Chase," but Sunday afternoon the entire field will be chasing him.

Busch earned his sixth pole of the NEXTEL Cup Series season, taking the top spot Friday in qualifying for the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Busch drove his No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge around the half-mile track with a fast lap of 97.568 mph.

“This team has always done will at this track, with Rusty Wallace at the wheel,” Busch said of his No. 2 Dodge team from Penske South. “And this is Roy McCauley’s favorite track. This one is for him.”

Busch's crew chief McCauley was fined and suspended by NASCAR through Nov. 1. The team also lost 50 driver and car owner points for a shock absorber violations during qualifying last week for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"We had a shock malfunction, it wasn't something we did to try and gain speed," Busch said. "I'd like to be there when NASCAR tears down that shock, maybe we can all learn something."

Jeff Gordon, who was fastest in practice, qualified second with Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart rounding out the top five.

"It's kind of like old times with the 2 and the 24 on the front row here," Gordon said, referring to the many battles between he and Rusty Wallace in the No. 2 machine.

"We have a great car and hopefully we can continue the success we've enjoyed here with a good run Sunday. That's something we obviously haven't had in a while," he said referring to his three straight DNF's.

Dave Blaney, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Green, Jimmie Johnson and Ken Schrader completed the first ten qualifiers.

Ward Burton will make his return to NEXTEL Cup racing on Sunday when he starts the Morgan-McClure No. 4 Chevrolet 35th. The former Daytona 500 winner, who has been without a full-time series ride for more than two years, was grateful for the team's effort to get him into the show.

"I can't say enough about this Morgan-McClure team and how hard these guys have worked to give me an opportunity to drive this car into the show," Burton said. "It feels so good to be back here and I'm hoping this is the start of good things to come."

Sunday's Subway 500 will take the green flag at 12:55 p.m. (ET).

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