Talladega, AL – Mark Martin grabbed the pole for the Good Sam Club 500, while his teammate, Jimmie Johnson, qualified second to give Hendrick Motorsports the front starting row for Sunday's race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Martin turned a lap at 181.367 mph around the 2.66-mile superspeedway for his 51st career pole, which ranks him eighth on the Sprint Cup Series' all-time pole winners list.
"That's a huge number," Martin said. "It's pretty incredible, and it's speaks highly of all the people who have worked on my race cars through the years. I've had the privilege of driving so many fast race cars. This is such a tremendous team effort from everybody at Hendrick Motorsports."
It was Martin's second pole of the season and his third in 48 races at Talladega. His first pole this season came in July at Daytona -- the most recent restrictor-plate event.
Martin edged Johnson for the Talladega pole by only 0.002 seconds.
HMS has dominated qualifying on restrictor-plate tracks (Talladega and Daytona) this season. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the pole for the Daytona 500, and Jeff Gordon claimed the top starting spot for the spring race at Talladega.
"We've been able to flex a lot of muscle on the restrictor-plate stuff lately, so I'm very proud of everyone at HMS," said Johnson, who won at Talladega earlier this year.
Team owner Rick Hendrick is one win away from capturing his 200th in NASCAR's premier series.
Clint Bowyer, the defending race winner, qualified third. Bowyer is leaving Richard Childress Racing at the end of the season to drive for Michael Waltrip Racing next year. He would love nothing more than to win one of his last five races with RCR.
"It would be a good way to cap off this relationship, and I couldn't think of a better way to do it than right here at Talladega," Bowyer said.
Trevor Bayne, who won this year's Daytona 500, qualified fourth. HMS teammates Gordon and Earnhardt Jr. took the fifth and sixth positions, respectively.
Edwards enters the race with a five-point advantage over Kevin Harvick, who will start 13th. Matt Kenseth, last weekend's race winner at Charlotte, is presently seven points behind Edwards, who is his teammate at Roush Fenway Racing. Kenseth qualified 11th.
Johnson, attempting to win his record-extending sixth straight Sprint Cup championship, is 35 points out of the lead.
The 500-mile race at Talladega is scheduled to start just after 2:00 p.m. (et).