Martin Edges Johnson for Talladega Pole

Mark Martin

Mark Martin won his third career pole in 48 races at Talladega Superspeedway. (Photo: Getty Images)


TALLADEGA, Ala. - Mark Martin edged his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson in qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway to take the pole for Sunday's Good Sam Club 500.

Martin posted a lap of 181.367 mph in his Chevrolet to score the 51st pole of his career and second of the season to follow-up his pole run at Daytona in July.

"Well, it’s all about the guys, you know," Martin said. "We won a pole at Daytona with this thing; these guys have the speedway car figured out. Back in the day if you were the fastest car, you had a big advantage come race time. But it doesn’t make that much difference now. Somebody asked about it yesterday and it’s a competition. And we intend to try to win every competition they have and today is a small competition and we are giving it our best shot."

Johnson recorded a lap of 181.360 mph to give Hendrick Motorsports the front row after the team qualified all four of its cars in the top four in April. This time around, HMS will start all of its cars in the top six with Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualifying fifth and sixth, respectively.

“Just a very fast race car and you look at where all four Hendrick cars are and we have a lot to be proud of and our qualifying efforts this year on the plate tracks have just been amazing," Johnson said. "I wish we were two hendreths of a second faster, because Mark ( Martin) got us by a couple of thousandths there but we will take it and just go race hard on Sunday and see where we end up.”

Defending race winner Clint Bowyer (181.243 mph) and 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne (181.011 mph) broke up the Hendrick group by qualifying third and fourth, respectively.

"I am excited about this race," Bowyer said. "We have run well here the last few times we have been here, looking forward to getting that one back that we lost in the spring."

Paul Menard, July Daytona winner David Ragan, championship leader Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman completed the top 10.

Other Chase drivers in the starting lineup include: Matt Kenseth (11th), Tony Stewart (12th), Kevin Harvick (13th), Kurt Busch (14th), Brad Keselowski (16th), Denny Hamlin (31st) and Kyle Busch (34th). 

Busch's lap of 178.780 mph came in a backup car after a right-front tire blew on his No. 18 Toyota in yesterday's final practice session.

“Overall, we feel comfortable with this M&M’s Camry and it should be good for tomorrow," Busch said. "We will get teamed up with Joey (Logano) and see how our day unfolds.”

After missing the show at Kentucky in July because of rain. Michael Waltrip will start 23rd driving a special paint scheme to celebrate the election of his brother, Darrell, to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

“It’s just an honor to say congratulations to my brother and it’s an honor to have shared some of the memories that we have together," Waltrip said. "I’ve never taken anything for granted. I’ve always just been a really thankful person. He (Darrell Waltrip) is the reason why I got to race cars."

Motor Racing Network's coverage of Sunday's Good Sam Club 500 will start at 1 p.m. (ET).

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