Martin The Man At Atlanta
March 6, 2009 | 8:06 P.M. EST
Martin last won a pole at Richmond International Raceway back on May 5, 2001.
At age 50, Martin is the second-oldest pole winner in history behind Harry Gant (54).
"I'm still shaking," Martin said. "I feel like a rookie."
Martin comes into Sunday's race 34th in the Sprint Cup Series point standings and after two straight weeks of problems is looking forward to competing for a win on Sunday.
"I was nervous and sick at my stomach about the whole thing just to be honest with you," Martin said of the start to the year. "This is a real special group and I am just so happy for them. We need to go win us a race but this will give us a good starting spot."
Kurt Busch qualified outside the front row after a lap of 186.365 mph in the Penske Championship Racing Dodge.
Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya and Greg Biffle rounded out the top five.
“That’s a really good lap," said McMurray. "I don’t know if it’s the tire that Goodyear has brought here, but when we unloaded in practice I thought that we were two or three seconds off the pace and it ended up we were like fifth-quick for most of practice. Now in qualifying trim it’s a little bit different because it just has so much grip and you put all that tape on the grille and it’s night time, so it will be an interesting race on Sunday.”
Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Joe Nemechek, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick completed the first ten qualifiers.
Ryan Newman's bid to break Buddy Baker's Atlanta Motor Speedway Sprint Cup pole record came up short when he qualified 12th.
Forty-seven drivers took part in qualifying with four drivers missing the field: Todd Bodine, Scott Riggs, Jeremy Mayfield and Geoff Bodine.
Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 will take the green flag at 2 p.m. (ET).