SADLER SCORES FIRST ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD POLE INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2005 -- Elliott Sadler dominated the field in qualifying for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, earning the pole Aug. 6 with a lap of 184.116 mph in the...
SADLER SCORES FIRST ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD POLE
INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2005 -- Elliott Sadler dominated the field in qualifying for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, earning the pole Aug. 6 with a lap of 184.116 mph in the No. 38 M&M's Ford, more than 1 mph faster than his closest pursuer.
Sadler's lap was well off the track record of 186.293 set by Casey Mears in 2004 qualifying, but Robert Yates Racing driver Sadler couldn't conceal his excitement at earning his first Indy pole and the prospect of leading the field to the green flag at the famous 2.5-mile oval, one of his favorite tracks on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series circuit.
"Being on the pole in the Brickyard is one step closer to a dream," Sadler said. "I think it's pretty neat to be able to hand the pole trophy over to Robert Yates, to be able to sit on the pole here. (I) really want to kiss the bricks. That was our mindset when we decided to come here this week. After our test session, we're not talking about points, we're not worried about the Chase tomorrow. We want to kiss those bricks."
The race starts at 1:50 p.m. (local time) Sunday, Aug. 7.
Sadler has every reason to be optimistic about his chances at collecting his first Allstate 400 at the Brickyard win, given the Indy pedigree of his crew chief, Todd Parrott. The cars that took Sadler's teammate Dale Jarrett to Indy's Victory Lane in 1996 and 1999 were prepared by Parrott.
"I never get amazed by Todd Parrott's intuition about this racetrack," Sadler said. "He's so smart. He just knows what the car needs and wants. They did it again today. We were just very fast right off the truck. It was a lot of fun to drive."
Evernham Motorsports driver Jeremy Mayfield will start second in the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge after posting a lap of 183.053, while Michael Waltrip will start third in the No. 15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet after running 182.975 in the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-prepared car.
Mayfield's Evernham Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne qualified fourth at 182.837 in the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge and Hendrick Motorsports driver Brian Vickers will start fifth after qualifying at 182.785 in the No. 25 Garnier Fructis Chevrolet.
The starting positions for the top-five drivers are Allstate 400 at the Brickyard are career-best starts for each of them except for Kahne, who tied his career-best start from his rookie year in 2004.
Four-time Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon will start seventh in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, his best starting position at Indianapolis since winning the pole in 1999. His Hendrick Motorsports teammate and current NEXTEL Cup Series points leader Jimmie Johnson did not make a qualifying run because the team did not make it through pre-qualifying inspection in time. Johnson will start 42nd.
Mears was fastest in morning practice at 184.873, but he hit the SAFER Barrier at the exit of Turn 3 on his qualifying run. He continued to the pits with light right-side damage, and will start 40th in the No. 41 Target Dodge.
Fan-favorite Rusty Wallace, who is making his final appearance at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as part of his season-long "Rusty's Last Call" farewell tour before retiring, also hit the wall in his qualifying run. Wallace, driving the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge for Penske Racing, began a lazy sideways slide midway through Turn 1 and made contact with the SAFER Barrier exiting the turn, damaging the right front and right rear of the car.
He was able to continue to pit lane with moderate to heavy damage to the car. Wallace, who is fourth in NEXTEL Cup points, will start 41st and remains optimistic about what he can do in his backup Miller Lite car.
"I was loose at the get-go coming off of Turn 4, coming to the line, and I hauled it down into (Turn 1) thinking the tires just needed to get up to temp a little bit," Wallace said. "It got up on the track and I couldn't even pull it down, and it just got out from underneath me and that was it. I just can't believe that.
"The backup car is the car I wanted to run here. That's probably the best car in the house, to tell you the truth."
Further complicating qualifications for many drivers was a change in weather conditions during the four-hour, 40-minute wait between the end of practice and qualifying. After a cloudy, cool morning, the sun partially came out, and the air temperature and humidity increased in the afternoon.
Allstate 400 at the Brickyard tickets: Tickets for the 12th annual Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Aug. 7 are on sale.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.