Carl Edwards said he played with Mark Martin racing toys as a kid. On Friday, Martin, the speedy old man of NASCAR, outran Edwards to win the pole for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Martin, who seems to get faster as he gets older (he’s 53), won his fourth pole of the season and is the easy leader in that category despite the fact that he’s not running a full-time schedule.
Martin, scoring his first pole at Michigan, ran 199.706 miles per hour as speeds were down slightly from the MIS race in June, when Marcos Ambrose won the pole at 203.241.
Following Martin and Edwards Friday were Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne.
In the second five were Trevor Bayne, Martin Truex Jr., Ambrose, Landon Cassill and Paul Menard.
The fast qualifying run was particularly important for Edwards, who needs at least one win – and probably two – over the next four races to make the Chase.
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 30 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.