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Age is only number to Martin; Cup vet, 53, earns 54th career pole

DOVER, Del. -- Mark Martin has more poles than candles on the birthday cake.

Not bad for a driver pushing limits in a stock car long after so many elite athletes have settled into retirement.

Martin took the last qualifying ride of the day and turned a lap of 158.297 mph Saturday to win the pole at Dover International Speedway.

The 53-year-old Martin now has 54 career Sprint Cup poles and won it in the No. 55 Toyota.

That 53-54-55 trifecta paid off big for Martin on the Monster Mile. Even with all those 50s, Martin is no golden oldie.

He has three poles this season in 10 races while racing a limited schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing. The 40-time winner is looking for his first Cup victory today since 2009.

"I feel like a lucky guy to be strapping in that 55," Martin said.

Waltrip was among the first to greet Martin after the winning lap.

"I'm so proud of you. That's amazing," Waltrip told him.

Martin has turned into a driver-for-hire over the latter stages of a career that has seen him do it all except win a Cup championship. He spent the past three seasons with Hendrick Motorsports, but changed teams in the offseason, joining Waltrip for a partial season.

Martin is slated to run 24 of 36 races this season while sharing seat time with Waltrip. He has four top-10 finishes over his first nine races and was third at Texas.

"They're learning about me, I'm learning about them, and we're having a blast," Martin said.

Jimmie Johnson, who has six career wins at Dover, was poised to earn the top spot with a lap of 158.263 mph until Martin knocked him off.

Johnson has yet to win a pole this season. Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer and Kenseth round out the top five. Points leader Greg Biffle starts seventh.

Martin has five poles to go with his five wins on the 1-mile concrete track at Dover.

Martin is as physically fit and dedicated to healthy eating and clean living as any other driver in the garage. His lifestyle has played as much a critical part of extending a Cup career that dates to 1981.

When the green flag drops today, Martin will officially make his 840th career start.


Logano feels power

DOVER, Del. -- Joey Logano had wasted enough shots at winning Dover to feel like he was on the brink of doing it again.

Out in front for most of the race, Logano fell back after a four-tire pit stop, paving the way for Ryan Truex to take the lead. Back in the pack, Logano wondered if he'd blown another win at Dover.

Logano instead powered his way to the lead with six laps left when Truex got mired in lapped traffic on Saturday to win the Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway.

"When you lead it and you think you gave it away, and then you get it back there at the end," Logano said, "that's exciting."


Dixon wins pole

DETROIT -- Scott Dixon won his first pole of the year, snapping Penske Racing's streak of having the fastest car in IndyCar qualifying this season. Dixon hopes the favorable position -- thanks to clocking a track record of 1 minute, 10.3162 seconds Saturday -- will help him snap a five-race winless skid this year during today's Detroit Grand Prix.

Penske's Will Power, the IndyCar points leader, will start alongside Dixon in the front row, Alex Tagliani will begin a season-best third.

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