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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Karam, Daly get IndyCar rides with Carlin for Iowa

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NEWTON, Iowa – Sage Karam returns for the second-straight race and Conor Daly is back for another race with Carlin Racing at this weekend’s Iowa 300 NTT IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway.

For Karam, it’s his third start of the 2019 season and his second straight with Carlin. In his five starts at Iowa Speedway dating back to 2010, Karam has never finished outside of the top three, recording four wins (USF2000 – 2010, Indy Pro 2000 – 2011 and 2012, Indy Lights – 2013) and scoring his first NTT IndyCar Series podium in 2015 with a third-place finish.

“I’m really excited to be back again this weekend with Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for the Iowa 300. Iowa Speedway has always been a good track for me in the past, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to work there,” Karam said. “Coming off of a very productive weekend in Toronto, I’m looking forward to applying everything I’ve learned and continuing to work with the team to get the best results possible. A huge thank you to everyone at Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for a great opportunity to race at one of my favorite tracks.”

Daly is back in a second Carlin entry. Earlier this year, the popular driver finished 11th for Carlin in the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8. At Iowa, he will drive the team’s No. 23 Gallagher Chevrolet.

Daly finished 10th in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge for Andretti Autosport.

Daly raced at Iowa in 2016 for Dale Coyne Racing (finishing 21st) and in 2017 for A.J. Foyt Racing (finishing 19th).

The combination gives Carlin two more drivers to gather additional feedback on the car. Max Chilton remains the team’s primary driver but announced recently that he will forego all oval races to concentrate on street and road courses.

That created opportunities for Karam and Daly.

“We were very impressed with Sage’s steady progression throughout the Toronto race weekend and his willingness to learn and adapt,” said Carlin Team Principal Trevor Carlin. “The fact that he hadn’t been on a street course since 2015 and was still able to come right out of the gate confident and constantly improving every session was extremely impressive.

“The SmartStop Self Storage Chevrolet looked great out on track and their group has been a pleasure to work with, so we couldn’t be more pleased to have them back this weekend in Iowa. Sage has done really well in Iowa in the past, so hopefully we can use his experience and our past success at Iowa Speedway to come away with a good result for the team and our partners at SmartStop Self Storage.”

The Iowa 300 at Iowa Speedway will take place on Saturday, July 20th at 7:15 pm ET and will be televised on NBCSN.