Mark Martin may be getting better with age.
Coming off a third-place finish at the Daytona 500, Martin became the second-oldest driver to win a Sprint Cup pole Friday by earning the top spot at Phoenix International Raceway for the second straight year.
“A lot of people describe Mark by saying ‘Mark’s on it,’ ” Martin’s crew chief Rodney Childers said. “Well, for 2013, Mark’s on it squared.”
Martin will be joined on the front row by Enumclaw’s Kasey Kahne for today’s 312-mile race, with Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch in the second row.
“I said it last week and had some people make some snide remarks about it, but at this stage of the game it’s pretty amazing I get to drive something like this,” Martin said.
Kahne had a disappointing Daytona 500, collected in the race’s first wreck on his way to finishing 36th after starting sixth. He’s had some success at Phoenix, though, winning the fall race in 2011 and put together a good qualifying run.
NASCAR will look at the placement of gates at its tracks after a Nationwide Series car crashed through the fence at Daytona and injured more than two dozen fans.
Steve O’Donnell, a NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations said NASCAR mostly leaves fencing up to the tracks, but may look at being more involved, similar to what it did requiring impact-absorbing barriers along concrete walls.
KYLE BUSCH WINS
Kyle Busch overcame a mid-race gaffe on pit road with a dominating performance, leading 142 laps to win his fifth Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday.
Brad Keselowski finished second and Justin Allgaier was third. Trevor Bayne finished fourth, followed by Elliott Sadler.
NASCAR is sending suspended Nationwide driver Jeremy Clements to a sports diversity expert after he made insensitive remarks during an interview.
“No secret we did suspend Jeremy. We believe strongly that we made the right move,” O’Donnell said.
Clements was suspended indefinitely, after MTV News reported that Clements made a racially insensitive remark to one of MTV’s bloggers.