Daytona Qualifying

SOURCE: Daytona International Speedway Bill Baird Grabs Pole for Sunday's FirstPlus Financial 200 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series driver Bill Baird led 67 cars in Pole Qualifying Thursday at Daytona ...

SOURCE: Daytona International Speedway

Bill Baird Grabs Pole for Sunday's FirstPlus Financial 200

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series driver Bill Baird led 67 cars in Pole Qualifying Thursday at Daytona International Speedway for Sunday's ARCA FirstPlus Financial 200.

Baird, capturing his first career ARCA pole, toured the 2.5-mile high-banked facility in 48.336 seconds, an average speed of 186.197 mph. Baird qualified third and finished fourth in last year's FirstPlus Financial 200, both career bests for the 48-year-old short track veteran from Sturgis, Ky.

"We came down here with the goal to sit on the pole and win the race," said Baird, who drives a Chevrolet owned by NASCAR Winston Cup veteran Ken Schrader. "We have accomplished half of our goal now. The main thing on Sunday is to have a good race and lead a bunch of laps."

NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year contender Kenny Irwin Jr., driving a Ford Thunderbird owned by Robert Yates, turned in the second fastest speed of the session, 186.047 mph.

"We're here to learn how to draft and race, we're not here to set some big qualifying record," said Irwin, who is racing for the first time at Daytona. "Obviously, we would have liked to have won the pole. Anytime you're racing or qualifying you want to be number one. We just came a little short."

The top 25 positions were secured in Thursday's qualifying with the rest of the starting order determined in second-round qualifying Saturday at 11 a.m.

The best of the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series will receive the green flag Sunday at 1:30 p.m. for the FirstPlus Financial 200. Preceding the 35th Annual FirstPlus Financial 200, the first race of 1998 featuring the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, the Bud Shootout At Daytona, is set to go at 11 a.m. The all-new Bud Shootout At Daytona will feature twice as many drivers and racing miles as its predecessor the Busch Clash. For tickets, contact the Speedway Ticket Office at (904) 253-RACE (7223).

FirstPlus Financial 200 Qualifying Results 1. Bill Baird/Chevrolet 186.197 mph 6. Craig Butts/Chevrolet 184.324

2. Kenny Irwin/Ford 186.047 mph 7. Mark Thompson/Ford 184.094

3. Bobby Gerhart/Chevrolet 185.223 mph 8. Mike Ciochetti/Ford 183.737

4. Mark Gibson/Ford 184.794 mph 9. Billy Venturini/Chevrolet 183.703

5. Jimmy Kitchens/Ford 184.351 mph 10. Glen Morgan/Chevrolet 183.524

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Series ARCA
Drivers Ken Schrader , Bobby Gerhart , Billy Venturini , Mark Gibson , Jimmy Kitchens , Robert Yates , Craig Butts , Bill Baird , Mike Ciochetti , Mark Thompson