Martin takes Pole

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 1, 2011

By Jenna Fryer
Associated Press
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ó Mark Martin bumped Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne from the pole at Daytona International Speedway with a qualifying run that put him in elite company.
Martin turned a lap of 182.065 mph in a Chevrolet to win his first pole of the season, but 50th of his career. Heís only the eighth driver in NASCAR history to win 50 poles.
The milestone run for the 52-year-old came in his 811th start at a track where heís winless in 52 career starts. But he doesnít question his lack of success at Daytona, even though heíll line up Saturday night next to baby-faced Bayne, who turned 20 just days before winning the Daytona 500 in his first career start.
ěThe place doesnít owe me a thing,î Martin insisted. ěIn fact, I owe the place and the sport a great deal for just letting me be a part of it.î
Bayne held the pole for much of the qualifying session until Martinís late run bettered his lap of 182.002 in a Ford. Itís been a whirlwind five months since Bayne won the 500, a victory that launched him into stardom.
But his season was paused when he was hospitalized for a week in May and treated for what doctors at the Mayo Clinic called an inflammatory condition but Bayne believes was Lyme disease. He originally thought he had been bitten on his arm by a spider a few weeks before symptoms that included double vision landed him in the hospital.
Bayne has run just one Sprint Cup race, two weeks ago at Michigan, since his release.
Clint Bowyer, who had a chance to win the 500 until he was involved in a late accident, qualified third in a Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. He was followed by Jeff Gordon, who is Martinís teammate at Hendrick Motorsports and has already said heís committed to working with Martin in Saturday nightís race.
David Ragan, who lost his shot to win the 500 when NASCAR penalized him for passing too early on a late restart, qualified fifth in a Ford for Roush Fenway Racing. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is marking the 10-year anniversary of his emotional 2001 win here, qualified sixth for Hendrick Motorsports.
Andy Lally, a sports car veteran who led TRG Racing to a two-lap victory in the Grand Touring class here in January in the prestigious Rolex 24, qualified a career-best seventh.
Jimmie Johnson was eighth, putting him in position to work with teammate Johnson. AJ Allmendinger was ninth in a Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, and Paul Menard rounded out the top 10 for RCR.
J.J. Yeley and Tony Raines both failed to make the 43-car field.