2-for-1: Jamie McMurray wins Martinsville pole, sets track record

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If racing at Martinsville Speedway was like buying an ice cream cone, Jamie McMurray double-dipped during Friday’s Sprint Cup qualifying.

Not only did McMurray earn his second pole of the season, he also set a new track speed record (99.905 mph) in the process.

“It was a good start to our weekend,” McMurray said to Fox Sports 1 about his 11th career Sprint Cup pole. “The first pit stall here is a really big deal. I had it before and it’s critical in being able to win the race.”

McMurray shattered Matt Kenseth’s track record, which lasted for maybe 15 minutes, as Kenseth broke the old half-mile bullring’s speed mark in the first round of qualifying at 99.816 mph.

“You never know with me at Martinsville,” Kenseth quipped. “You never know if I’m going to be last or what it’s going to be.

“It was a spectacular lap on that first run. I couldn’t believe how fast it was. … The second run, we just didn’t quite have it. I probably could have done a better job.

“Overall, it was a good day for us. I really wanted to be on the pole after the first run, but it’s a good run for our team and gives us a good place to start on Sunday.”

Joey Logano qualified second at 99.605 mph, followed by Kenseth (99.318 mph), Tony Stewart (99.297) and Denny Hamlin (99.266).

“Overall, the Shell Pennzoil Ford is fast, we have speed in it, we’re starting towards the front, which is very important,” Logano said. “Now all I have to do is convince Jamie to take the outside.

“I think that’s the fastest way around here. Either way, it’s a good spot for us, we get a good pit stall, hopefully stay out of trouble and go and win this thing.”

Last week’s winner at Talladega, Brad Keselowski, was sixth-fastest in qualifying at 99.240 mph, followed by Jimmie Johnson (99.230), Kyle Busch (99.209), Ryan Newman (98.836) and Kurt Busch (98.620), who won this year’s spring race at Martinsville.

“If we qualify well, it’s usually a good sign for us in the race,” Keselowski said. “The sixth place starting spot is good, not great, but certainly a position we can win from.”

Having the worst qualifying effort of the eight remaining drivers in the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup is Kevin Harvick, who failed to qualify no higher than 33rd position after getting into the wall twice during his qualifying effort.

Here’s the starting lineup for Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500:

Row 1: Jamie McMurray, Joey Logano
Row 2: Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart
Row 3: Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski
Row 4: Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch
Row 5: Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch
Row 6: Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer
Row 7: Jeff Gordon, Paul Menard
Row 8: AJ Allmendinger, Kyle Larson
Row 9: Brian Vickers, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Row 10: Austin Dillon, Casey Mears
Row 11: Greg Biffle, Justin Allgaier
Row 12: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne
Row 13: Marcos Ambrose, Martin Truex Jr.
Row 14: Aric Almirola, Landon Cassill
Row 15: David Ragan, Danica Patrick
Row 16: Reed Sorenson, Alex Bowman
Row 17: Kevin Harvick, David Gilliland
Row 18: Josh Wise, Cole Whitt
Row 19: Michael Annett, Clay Rogers
Row 20: Travis Kvapil, JJ Yeley
Row 21: Timmy Hill, Kyle Fowler
Row 22: Mike Wallace

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Supercross: Husqvarna’s Jalek Swoll and Malcolm Stewart out with injury

Swoll Stewart injury
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Jalek Swoll and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate Malcolm Stewart sustained injury in separate crashes late last week. Stewart missed Anaheim 2 and Swoll will not mount up for the 250 East season opener in Houston on February 4.

“Spent all of yesterday in the ER and today getting surgery so haven’t been able to make an update post,” Swoll posted on Instagram. “Spiral fractured my humorous yesterday and was lucky enough to get into surgery today. Absolutely heartbroken that I couldn’t show all the hard work me, [Mike Brown], [Aldon Baker], and [Joel Perez] were working on truly felt like this year was going to a big one with massive improvements we made but I guess it just wasn’t my time.”

The team announced on Instagram that Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his arm, sustained in a practice crash on Friday. After missing the division opener, no further timeline has been given for his return.

Swoll made eight starts in the 250 West division last season with a best finish of fifth. In 2021, he scored his first SuperMotocross win in the outdoor Pro Motocross season at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania.

Stewart missed Anaheim 2 due to a practice injury. Likewise, the team did not announce a timetable for Stewart’s return.

He showed a lot of speed in the first two rounds before accidents eliminated him from contention in both rounds. He finished 16th at Anaheim 1 and 15th in San Diego, putting him in a points’ deficit that was already going to be difficult to overcome.

Stewart entered the 2023 season with a ton of confidence and believed all he needed was to stack his chips the right way to get this year’s championship.

Husqvarna is now represented by RJ Hampshire in the 250 West division and Christian Craig in 450s.

Hampshire had a rough weekend in Anaheim 2 and finished 11th in the overall standings after scoring a last place result in Race 2 with a bike sidelined by crash damage and a 13th in Race 3 after another fall.

Craig has not yet scored a top-10 on his 450 with a best of 11th at San Diego and Anaheim 2.

The news of these two injuries comes on the heels of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team losing three of their four 250 riders.

Last week, Pro Circuit Kawasaki announced Seth Hammaker would miss the season opener with a wrist injury. Almost immediately, it was announced Jo Shimoda would also miss the 250 East opener with a shoulder injury.

Chris Blose will serve as a replacement rider in the 250 East division with Carson Mumford scheduled to replace the injured Austin Forkner in the West.