RICHMOND, Va. — Mark Martin watched and waited as 44 other drivers made two qualifying laps around Richmond International Raceway on Friday night, then went out and beat them all to win the pole for the Saturday night Sprint Cup race.
Martin turned the second-fastest lap on his first circuit around the 0.75-mile, D-shaped oval, then nudged Carl Edwards to the outside of the front row with a lap at 128.327 mph. Edwards’ top lap at 128.290 had hung on through 17 drivers.
But the savvy Martin got Edwards’ attention right away, then claimed his 53rd career pole and fifth at Richmond.
NATIONWIDE SERIES: Kurt Busch blew past Kevin Harvick after the last pit stops with under 50 laps to go Friday night and held on in a side-by-side, last-lap duel with local favorite Denny Hamlin to win the Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway.
Driving a car owned by brother Kyle, Busch passed Harvick on the 222nd lap after the green-flag stops. Busch seemed likely to cruise to the victory, but Hamlin pulled up on his rear bumper with a few laps to go, and ducked inside him as they crossed the white line for the final lap. Busch, somehow, held off Hamlin on the outside to win by a nose.
Harvick was third, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Sam Hornish Jr.
INDYCAR: Newman/Haas Racing withdrew its entry for the Indianapolis 500.
General manager Brian Lisles said the team ran out of time to put together a proper program for the May 27 race. Newman/Haas was on the official entry list released last week, but did not announce a driver.
The withdrawal puts the Indy 500 in danger of not having a full 33-car field.