MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Kurt Busch won the pole for the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Friday, his Nextel Cup Series-high sixth pole position of the season.
Busch circled the tight 0.526-mile oval at 97.568 mph, giving Dodge its 15th pole of the season in the 31 races where qualifying was held. He knocked Jeff Gordon to the outside of the front row after Gordon set the early standard at 97.377 mph.
Busch said he was simply carrying on the tradition of short track specialist Rusty Wallace, who yielded the No. 2 car to Busch when he retired following last season.
"It was a great lap, unexpected for me, but this team has always qualified well at this track," Busch said. "Martinsville is the kind of track that you either love or hate, and I've learned to do both. It's a tough, challenging short track."
Gordon, who has sat on the pole five times at Martinsville, earned his 19th top-10 starting spot in 28 races on the shortest, tightest and oldest track in the series.
The top 10 will feature four of the 10 Chase for the Championship drivers, with Gordon, Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. starting seventh and Jimmie Johnson ninth.
Burton's brother, Ward, will start 35th. The former Daytona 500 winner has been out of racing since November 2004 but is driving for Morgan-McClure Racing this week.
"This car's got it in it. We just have to figure out how to get it out of it," Burton said of the speed in his Chevrolet.
The Burton brothers grew up about 60 miles from the track in South Boston.