Darlington: Qualifying report

Ricky Craven captures pole for Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 15, 2002) - Ricky Craven, driving the No. 32 Tide Ford for PPI Motorsports, rolled to his second Bud Pole of the season on Friday taking the pole for Sunday's ...

Ricky Craven captures pole for Carolina Dodge Dealers 400

DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 15, 2002) - Ricky Craven, driving the No. 32 Tide Ford for PPI Motorsports, rolled to his second Bud Pole of the season on Friday taking the pole for Sunday's Carolina Dodge Dealers 400.

Craven turned a fast lap of 28.912 seconds, 170.089 mph around Darlington Raceway's 1.366-mile egged-shaped oval. Jeff Gordon will share the front row with Craven after posting a lap of 170.071 mph in his No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet.

"It's about changing the right things and making the good decisions. That's what the team has been so successful at," said Craven, whose also won the pole at Rockingham, N.C. "They've just really got it together. I'm driving some great cars."

Rounding out the top five were Ryan Newman (169.895), Steve Park (169.351) and Jimmie Johnson (169.216). For Park, he was not only pleased with a fourth-place qualifying effort, but also thrilled to be back in a race car again.

Park, the driver of the No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc., returned to competition for the first time on Friday after recovering from injuries suffered in an accident last September during the Busch Series race at Darlington Raceway.

"It's like a big weight taken off my shoulders," Park said. "It's a small reward for all the hard work the last six months."

In other track action, Jeff Burton captured the Bud Pole for Saturday's DarlingtonRaceway.com 200 NASCAR Busch Series race with a speed of 168.250 mph in the No. 9 Gain Ford.

The pole position came as a surprise to Burton, whose Roush Racing team focused on race setups during the morning practice session.

"We were a bit off from what we ran this morning, but I think that's fairly normal," Burton said. "We almost ran the same speed. Normally, the track falls off some. We worked on race trim all morning and made just a shot at it in qualifying in the last minute. So I feel pretty good working on race setup and throw our qualifying setup at the end and it go well. I'm real proud of my team."

Rounding out the top five were Jeff Green (168.100), Jason Keller (167.836), Scott Riggs (167.516) and Greg Biffle (167.402).

Tickets are available for this weekend's events at the gate or by calling the Raceway's ticket office at (843) 395-8499.

-dis-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Steve Park , Jason Keller , Greg Biffle , Jeff Green , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Ricky Craven , Scott Riggs