By Patrick Jennings - Motorsport.com Watkins Glen, NY - After three previous second-place starts at Watkins Glen International, Dale Jarrett captured the first road course pole of his career this afternoon during qualifying for Sunday's Global...
By Patrick Jennings - Motorsport.com
Watkins Glen, NY - After three previous second-place starts at Watkins Glen International, Dale Jarrett captured the first road course pole of his career this afternoon during qualifying for Sunday's Global Crossing at the Glen Winston Cup Series event. In doing so, Jarrett out-qualified all of the road racing veterans hoping to steal the show from the Winston Cup regulars on the historic 2.45-mile road course. The pole is Jarrett's third of the season and 13th of his career. Although Jarrett is not usually considered a road course expert like championship rival Jeff Gordon, this pole marks the fifth time in the last seven years that he has posted a top-five starting position at the Glen.
"I'm really happy," exclaimed an elated Jarrett. "It means a lot as a driver because you know that you had a lot to do with it here. It's very satisfying and gratifying as a driver."
In addition, Jarrett's pole proves that a little testing will go a long way. "When I was up here testing, I had time to go out and watch Boris Said and Robby Gordon and Ron Fellows some and I think that probably helped me as much as anything. Just seeing how they do things a little differently that what I [am] accustomed to - how much farther they could get in the corners, so we had to work on our car to make sure that we could make our car do those types of things."
While Jarrett was obviously excited about his qualifying lap, he refused to underestimate the impact the road racers could have on the race on Sunday. "I'm sure that on Sunday those guys are gonna show just how good they are. I'm sure that they will be there on Sunday, but, hopefully, we'll be there racing them too "
Jarrett's teammate, Ricky Rudd, will roll of the grid in second place, while Winston Cup regulars Jerry Nadeau (5th) and Rusty Wallace round out the top-five.. In contrast, road course aces Robby Gordon, Ron Fellows, and Scott Pruett, will start fourth, sixth, eighth respectively.
Series points leader Jeff Gordon will start 13th; his worst qualifying effort in nine races at Watkins Glen.
Mike Wallace and Wall Dallenbach failed to make the field.
Thirteen drivers broke Rusty Wallace's track record.
Watkins Glen will mark Jarrett's 11th top-10 start of the season and his third in the last four races.
This is the 10th Bud Pole for Ford this season. In comparison, Chevrolet has six, Dodge has three, and Pontiac has one.
Additionally, there have been 12 different Bud Pole winners in 2001.
Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon are tied for the most victories in the Winston Cup event at Watkins Glen International with three apiece. While Mark Martin and the late Dale Earnhardt hold the record for the most poles with three each.
Steve Park is the defending race winner.
Six Winston Cup races at the Glen have been won from the pole, and 10 of 16 races have been from the first three starting positions. Park won from the 18th starting position last year. And no other driver has won from farther back than Park did last year. In fact, Park also holds the record for the closest margin of victory; he beat Mark Martin to the checkered flag by a mere 0.384 seconds last year.
Mark Martin has led the most laps (204) going into this weekend's Global Crossing at the Glen.