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Martin Wins Sam’s 300 Pole

February 28, 1998

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Mark Martin, the all-time leading winner in NASCAR’s Busch Grand National series, took the pole for Saturday’s Sam’s 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The Winston Cup regular led Friday’s single round of qualifying, turning a lap of 162.577 mph on the 1 1/2-mile oval in his Roush Racing Ford.

``This is a big surprise,″ said Martin, who has 32 Busch Series wins. ``This is the car we ran (last week) at Rockingham, and I wasn’t overly impressed with it there. We qualified 17th and finished third with it there, but some of the guys had us covered pretty good over there.″

Joe Nemechek, who won the Busch Series opener two weeks ago at Daytona, put his Chevrolet on the outside spot of the front row at 162.494.

Jeff Burton, in another Ford, was third at 161.730, while the Pontiac driven by Buckshot Jones made him the top qualifying Busch Series regular at 161.580.

Matt Kenseth, whose impressive victory over Tony Stewart at Rockingham was his first in the BGN series, qualified 15th, while Stewart was 24th. Two-time defending series champion Randy LaJoie was 31st.

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