Mark Martin is ready to turn his season around.
Entering the Miller 500 today, the 17th race on the 31-race Winston Cup schedule, Martin stands a disappointing 10th in the standings.
But the two-time series runner-up said his pole-winning effort Saturday in the rain-delayed conclusion to qualifying is just another indication that he and the Roush Racing Team are reversing the trend of the first half of the season.
"We had more competitive cars in the first half (of the season) last year than this year," Martin said after a lap of 168.410 mph gave him his second pole of the season. "But I think my race team has turned the corner on that."
The pole was the third for Martin at the 2.5-mile Pocono International Raceway and the 30th of his career.
The 41-car lineup was set with one qualifying session after what was to be the opening round of the time trials was cut short by rain Friday after only five drivers had completed laps.
Qualifying resumed Saturday morning, with temperatures 15 degrees cooler and considerably less humidity. Still, Johnny Benson Jr.'s fast lap of 166.741 Friday was good enough for sixth on the grid.
Blaine Johnson, John Force, Steve Schmidt and Dave Schultz are the leaders after qualifying for the 18th annual Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo. The $1,323,200 event is the 11th stop in the 19-race NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Johnson led top fuel, Force claimed the No. 1 spot in funny car, Schmidt is the pro stock leader and Schultz heads the 16 pro stock motorcycle field.
STEELE SETS RECORD: Tim Steele set an ARCA Bondo-Mar-Hyde Supercar Series record for victories, leading the final 31 laps to win the Pepsi 400k at Pocono.
HORNADAY HOLDS ON: Ron Hornaday Jr. returned to the site of one of his worst finishes last year _ Louisville Motor Speedway _ and won his second race of the season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
WHAT: Miller 500.
GREEN FLAG: 1 p.m.
TRACK: 2.5-mile Pocono International Speedway, Long Pond, Pa.
DISTANCE: 200 laps.
POLE-SITTER: Mark Martin.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Dale Jarrett.
RADIO: WFNS-AM 910.
FRY'S PICK: Ted Musgrave.