Allmendinger wins first NASCAR pole

AVONDALE, Ariz., April 9 (UPI) -- A.J. Allmendinger won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup pole of his career Friday and will start out front in Saturday's Subway Fresh Fit 600.

Allmendinger traveled at a speed of 134.675 for one lap around the Phoenix International Raceway. His first pole came in his 87th Sprint Cup start.


It was the first time the Richard Petty-owned No. 43 car had won a pole since John Andretti did it 11 years ago.

"To get a pole, it might be minor," Allmendinger said. "But it's a victory for us. We've always struggled in qualifying."

Allmendinger's best Sprint Cup finish has been a third at last year's Daytona 500.

Scott Speed had the second-fastest qualifying effort, followed by Sam Hornish, Marcos Ambrose and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. It was the best qualifying showing in Hornish's career.

Four-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson qualified 16th. Mark Martin, who won here last year, was 23rd.

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