NASCAR Martinsville 2013 qualifying: Ryan Newman defends title

USA TODAY Sports

The Sprint Cup Series is in Martinsville, where points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. will try to extend his early-season lead.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series resumes in Martinsville this weekend for the STP Gas Booster 500. Qualifying for the short-track race will be completed on Friday.

Ryan Newman won this event a year ago, and he could use the boost in the standings that a second consecutive victory would give him. Newman has three top-10 finishes this season but is just No. 20 in the point standings. Five different drivers have won a race at this early stage of the season, including Jimmie Johnson, who has taken the checkered flag in this race twice since 2007.

Points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. has finished in the top 10 in each of the first five races this season, though he hasn't yet managed to win. Brad Keselowski and Johnson aren't far behind him, and they can make a move beginning with their qualifying sessions.

Qualifying will air on the Speed Network beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The race is set to get underway at 1 p.m. ET Sunday, with television coverage from FOX.

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