action:article | category:SPORTS11 | adString:SPORTS11 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » Motor Sports

October 26. 2013 7:39PM

Hamlin on pole for Sunday's Goody's 500 at Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, Va. - Jimmie Johnson may be a favorite to win Sunday's Goody's 500 at Martinsville Speedway, but he will start the race deep in enemy territory.

Johnson, who qualified second, will be surrounded by all three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers as polesitter Denny Hamlin leads a parade of Sprint Cup Series title contenders to the green flag.

Hamlin's teammates, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth, line up third and fourth, respectively.

With four races left this season, Johnson leads the series standings by four points over Kenseth. Kevin Harvick and Busch are tied in third, both 26 behind Johnson.

When first appraised of the rundown in the media center Friday at Martinsville Speedway, Busch exclaimed, "Yes!"

Asked if he was worried about being surrounded by JGR teammates, Johnson quipped: "I wasn't until Kyle got so excited just now."

The pole was a welcome bit of good news for Hamlin, who has had one top-10 finish in his past 18 races and missed four races early in the season after suffering a broken vertebra in his back.

"You're only as good as your last accomplishment, and mine was only 20 minutes ago," said Hamlin, who earned his fifth pole of the year and 17th of his career.

"We've got our best car here. Everything is lined up to be successful this weekend. And I'm pretty decent here."

Hamlin has four career wins at Martinsville, most recently in the fall of 2010. Hamlin is winless this season and has never completed a full season in the Cup series without winning at least one race.

He views today's race as the best opportunity to ensure 2013 doesn't end that streak.

"When racing for the win, I'll be a lot more aggressive with a non-teammate than a teammate," Hamlin said. "I wouldn't take anyone out intentionally."

Asked if there was anything Hamlin could do to make Johnson's life more difficult in the race, Hamlin said it was possible but difficult.

"I can do things as far as setting the pace as the race starts," Hamlin said. "But Jimmie knows what he's doing. He won't let me goad him into doing something he doesn't want to do."Clint Bowyer qualified fifth, Joey Logano sixth, Jamie McMurray seventh, David Ragan eighth, Jeff Gordon ninth and Harvick 10th.And for the remainder of the drivers in the Chase, Dale Earnhardt Jr. starts 12th, Carl Edwards 14th, Ryan Newman 17th, Kurt Busch 19th, Kasey Kahne 25th and Greg Biffle 33rd.

Johnson, who has eight wins at Martinsville himself, said he and his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team won't take anything for granted this weekend.

"I'm very happy to be here, the week was a comfortable week; one, from having a decent finish at Talladega and taking the points lead. Then two, rolling into a track that is historically really good for the No. 48," Johnson said.

"It's been a good week, but again that doesn't guarantee anything for the weekend. We have to go out here and get the job done and work hard."

David Ragan qualified eighth, earning Front Row Motorsports its best start in the Cup series race since the organization's inception in 2005.

"We were able to come up here and test and the track was a little different than where we tested at a few weeks ago, so we were struggling," Ragan said. "Jay Guy (crew chief) and our team made some adjustments for qualifying. That was a good lap."


  • Do you support minimizing risk of injury in high school ice hockey by making the penalty for boarding or checking from behind an automatic major?
  • Yes
  • 67%
  • No
  • 33%
  • Total Votes: 937
 NH Sports Angle ╗ more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

State sells Windham golf course site for $3.06M

Ex-minor leaguers sue MLB over low salaries

$14M to beaten Giants fan returns security focus

Matt Bonner and brother bring rock show back to Redhook

GM: Twin State Speedway progressing with revival

Foot golf arrives on Seacoast

New Hampshire's Burns gets more than he could ever ask for

Pro runner's yoga class will raise money for clean Kenyan water

Menard wrecks as New Hampshire testing concludes

Lawyers try to bar Patriots from paying Hernandez $3.2M bonus

Pease Golf Course celebrates opening of lower nine holes

NFL rule could signal end of Justin Tuck signature facemask and that's a good thing according to UNH findings

NH man almost wins first $500k winner-takes-all open basketball tournament

Blue Jays move Dalton Pompey up to New Hampshire

Field set for 110th anniversary ĹClimb to the Clouds' car race

Contractors volunteer to complete renovations for 5th Annual Jericho ATV Festival

Dartmouth dismisses menĺs lacrosse coach

Jay Perrin looks to take his MMA career to the next level at Combat Zone 49

Dartmouth runner poised for long-term success on pro circuit

'Great Race' makes pit stop in Rochester

CHIP KELLY

Chip Kelly: Last practice not Fred Flintstone leaving work

Traffic jams expected with 30,000 fans at Epping dragway

Calgary Stampsĺ St. Pierre, complete with tattoos and plenty of brawn, not your typical NH wedding planner

Laconia man wins grueling 500-mile race in 9 days

NH native, famed NASCAR engine building, dead at 98

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

   ╗ SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

   ╗ ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!