Spencer edges Elliott for pole at Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2001 - Jimmy Spencer edged Bill Elliott for the pole for the Brickyard 400 on Aug. 4 with a lap of 50.093 seconds, 179.666 mph in the No. 26 Kmart Ford at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Elliott was second at ...

INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2001 - Jimmy Spencer edged Bill Elliott for the pole for the Brickyard 400 on Aug. 4 with a lap of 50.093 seconds, 179.666 mph in the No. 26 Kmart Ford at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Elliott was second at 50.121, 179.565 in the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge on the 2.5-mile oval. It was the closest pole margin in Brickyard 400 history.

This was the first career Brickyard 400 pole for Spencer, whose previous best start at Indy was 20th in 1996. It was his first pole since September 1994 at N. Wilkesboro, N.C. Spencer's best previous start this season was second in the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

"We are having a lot of fun," Spencer said. "It's really important starting up front. I'm on the pole, and I'm not going to deny that. "The Brickyard is a special place. Growing up as a boy, watching the Indy 500, it's special. You've got the 400, Museum, and the fans are astronomical."

The eighth Brickyard 400 starts at 1:30 p.m. (EST) Aug. 5. It will be televised live by NBC. Spencer was the sixth of 54 drivers to make a qualifying attempt for the 43-car field. He sat on the provisional pole for 1 hour, 37 minutes until it became official.

Casey Atwood qualified third at 50.178, 179.361 in the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge. It was the best qualifying spot for a rookie in the eight-year history of this race. Both Elliott and teammate Atwood appeared to benefit from a recent NASCAR rules change allowing Dodge Intrepid cars to have a 2-inch extension to the front air dam.

"The car stuck real well," said Elliott, who led the morning practice at 49.890, 180.397. "We had a good test here two weeks ago. Then they changed the nose on the Dodge. We've had to readjust the balance from what we came away with at the test. I think it remains to be seen how the rule change will affect us until we get some races under our belt."

1997 Brickyard 400 winner Ricky Rudd qualified fourth at 50.214, 179.233 in the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford. Rookie Ryan Newman, an Indiana native, rounded out the top five at 50.269, 179.037 in the No. 02 ALLTEL Ford.

Two-time Brickyard 400 winner Dale Jarrett was sixth at 50.322, 178.848 in the No. 88 UPS Ford. The other two-time winner in the field, NASCAR Winston Cup points leader Jeff Gordon, struggled with a lap of 51.084, 176.180 in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, good for just 27th.

Shawna Robinson failed to qualify in her attempt to become the first woman to start the Brickyard 400. Her lap of 52.336, 171.966 in the No. 84 Tropicana Ford was 53rd fastest.

-IMS-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Jimmy Spencer , Shawna Robinson , Ryan Newman , Casey Atwood