Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, led the two-car Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) contingent in time trials Friday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway by qualifying seventh for the TUMS Fast Relief 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday. Stewart turned a lap of 19.470 seconds at 97.257 mph on the .526-mile oval.
“We had a decent practice as we made gains right at the end of our race runs before we switched over to qualifying,” said Stewart, who has three Sprint Cup wins at Martinsville (October 2000, April 2006 and October 2011) and continues to hold the track qualifying record of 19.306 seconds at an average speed of 98.083 mph, set in October 2005. “We’ll definitely get a lot of use out of the two practices tomorrow to make our Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy good for Sunday.”
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet for SHR, will start 17th after clocking in at 19.555 seconds at 96.835 mph.
“I think our Quicken Loans Chevrolet is a better racecar than what we showed today in qualifying,” said Newman, who is the series’ most recent race winner at Martinsville, as he took the victory in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 in April. “We got behind on our first run in practice today, and we kind of stayed behind all the way through qualifying. But it was a good first day back with Matt (Borland, crew chief) and the guys, and we’re looking forward to tomorrow and the race on Sunday.”
Jimmie Johnson captured his 28th career Sprint Cup pole, his third of the season and his second at Martinsville by posting a lap of 19.402 seconds at 97.598 mph.
Brian Vickers will start on the outside of row one after turning a lap of 19.415 seconds at 97.533 mph. Kyle Busch was third (19.436 seconds at 97.427 mph), while Jeff Burton (19.443 seconds at 97.392 mph) and Denny Hamlin (19.445 seconds at 97.382 mph) rounded out the top-five.
Forty-five drivers attempted to qualify for the TUMS Fast Relief 500. Those not making the cut in the 43-car field were Mike Bliss and J.J. Yeley.
Chevrolet took the top spot among manufacturers via Johnson’s pole run. Toyota was next best at the hands of Vickers. Ford was the third-fastest make thanks to sixth-quick Matt Kenseth (19.467 seconds at 97.272 mph). Sam Hornish Jr., qualified 27th (19.669 seconds at 96.273 mph) to carry the flag for Dodge.
The TUMS Fast Relief 500 gets underway at 1:30 p.m. EDT Sunday, with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with a pre-race show at 1 p.m.