Chicagoland Speedway qualifying summary

Burton on point for USG SHEETROCK 400 (Joliet, Ill. - July 7, 2006) Jeff Burton drove into the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series spotlight, winning the pole for Sunday's USG SHEETROCK 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. It could be argued the veteran driver has...

Burton on point for USG SHEETROCK 400

(Joliet, Ill. - July 7, 2006) Jeff Burton drove into the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series spotlight, winning the pole for Sunday's USG SHEETROCK 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. It could be argued the veteran driver has been deserving of the attention for the past three months.

Few drivers have been more consistent than Burton in the past 11 races. He has surged from 21st in the point standings to seventh with eight top-10 finishes, including a pair of fourths.

"We've certainly been a top-10 team," he said. "I think it's fair to say (Kasey Kahne) has been a step ahead of us, (Jimmie Johnson) has been a step ahead of us, (Tony Stewart) has been a step ahead, (Matt Kenseth) and maybe (Greg Biffle), too.

"But I think the team has progressed to the point where we have a chance to win (Sunday)."

Burton, who last won a NEXTEL Cup Series race in 2001, will be among the drivers to beat after posting a fast lap of 181.647 mph in his No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet of Richard Childress Racing. It was the fourth series pole of his career; he also won the pole for this year's Daytona 500.

"That was a heck of a lap," said third-place qualifier Kasey Kahne, whose lap in the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge was 180.687 mph. "We've got a good car, and we couldn't do that."

Brian Vickers earned the second starting spot in the No. 25 GMAC Chevrolet. His lap was 181.318 mph.

Chevrolet drivers dominated the top 10, earning six spots, including the front row. Ford's top qualifier was Kenseth in the eighth position.

Johnson, the series points leader, was fifth. Last year's race winner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., qualified 25th.

Saturday's Chicagoland Speedway schedule includes a pair of morning NEXTEL Cup practices, Busch Series qualifying at 11:40 a.m. and the Busch race, the USG DUROCK 300, at 3:05 p.m.

The green flag drops for Sunday's USG SHEETROCK 400 is at 2:35 p.m.

-www.chicagolandspeedway.com

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Greg Biffle , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Brian Vickers
Teams Richard Childress Racing