Mark Martin was the last driver to take a qualifying attempt, courtesy of his top-of-the-charts practice speed earlier Friday afternoon, and he made it count. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver nipped the time set by Carl Edwards to score the pole for Saturday's Capital City 400 at the Richmond International Raceway. It is Martin's second pole of the 2012 season, as he also led the field to the green flag at the similarly-configured Phoenix International Raceway in February.
Edwards will start second as he looks to recapture the front-of-the-pack consistency that allowed him to tie Tony Stewart for the Sprint Cup title last fall despite the latter's five victories during the Chase.
Kevin Harvick, who sits on the pole for Friday's Nationwide Series race, was third quickest, ahead of A.J. Allmendinger and three-time-defending race champion Kyle Busch.
Jeff Gordon, local hero Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. completed the top-10 qualifiers. Points leader Greg Biffle timed in only 28th, one spot worse than perennial contender Jimmie Johnson.
As far as Georgian racers went, David Ragan was 38th in his Front Row Motorsports Ford, while Reed Sorenson was 43rd fastest in his FAS Lane Racing Ford.
The drivers who will spend Saturday evening flipping hamburgers instead of turning laps on the .75-mile D-shaped oval are Scott Riggs and J.J. Yeley, who turned the two-slowest laps in qualifying.
Head over to SB Nation's NASCAR hub for the full starting lineup.