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Rain puts points-leader Gordon on pole in Va. notebook

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Jeff Gordon will start from the pole position in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway after steady rain washed out qualifying Friday.

Being the points leader also earned Gordon the prime stall on the cramped pit road of NASCAR’s tricky, 0.526-mile oval. He will be seeking his eighth victory at Martinsville, tops among active drivers, and his first in 47 races.

The qualifying rainout, he figures, only helps his chances.

“I think because of the pit road situation here, this is probably the most important place to start on the pole because you get that No. 1 pit stall,” said Gordon, who has started at the top spot seven other times in his career at the track. “Either way, I feel like rain or shine we had a shot at getting it. Certainly great timing for us to be leading the points.”

Martinsville’s pit road surrounds much of the small track, and the stall Gordon will take is closest to the exit to pit road with nothing obstructing his car’s path onto the track.

Other stalls are difficult to maneuver in and out of because they are all narrow.

“There’s no doubt that anyone that gets the No. 1 pit stall, it gives them the upper hand,” the four-time series champ said. “The stalls are so tight; there’s only one good one.”

Kurt Busch will start second, followed by Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards.

GOAL-ORIENTED: Edwards has three goals this season, and can get one Sunday.

“This season would be the perfect season if we won two races and a championship and those two races would be a Martinsville race and a road course,” he said Friday. “For me as a driver, those have been the two most difficult things to master. I’m far from being a master here at Martinsville and I feel like I’m getting better at the road courses.

“The wins at those two places would mean the world to me.”

Edwards finished third here last October, his best showing in nine career starts.

BREATHING LESSONS: David Starr’s wife, Kim, had a baby boy a few weeks back, and the driver in the Camping World Truck Series still seems to relive the moment when he recalls it.

“It was freakin’ awesome,” Starr said. “For all those that have kids, you know what I’m talking about. ... I’m still blown away by the experience and it’s unbelievable. Just a wow!”

Starr was trying to help his wife during delivery, but almost needed help himself.

“They were telling me to breathe,” he said.

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