Watkins Glen Pole Qualifying Report

WATKINS GLEN, NY -- Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) celebrated his birthday by capturing the pole position for Sunday's Frontier @ The Glen. The 43-year old Wallace shattered the Watkins Glen International track record with a lap of 72.752...

WATKINS GLEN, NY -- Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) celebrated his birthday by capturing the pole position for Sunday's Frontier @ The Glen. The 43-year old Wallace shattered the Watkins Glen International track record with a lap of 72.752 seconds (121.234 mph).

This was Wallace's first pole on the 2.45-mile road course and his lap broke Dale Earnhardt's record of 73.054 seconds (120.733 mph). "I've always liked coming to Watkins Glen," he said. "It felt good to break the track record. I didn't come up here for the test session, so I felt like I was at a little disadvantage to begin with. We took this brand new car to Sears Point and we ran real strong. All the little things we found wrong with the car at Sears Point we fixed. My first time on the racetrack was in the wet, and I wasn't going to go in the rain because I knew we weren't going to qualify in the wet. But the car was so good, and I said, 'Man if this car does as good in the dry as it does in the wet, we've got a real hot rod on our hands.'"

Wallace will be joined on the front row by rookie Boris Said (No. 14 Federated Auto Part Fords). "Second to those guys might not mean much, but to be a rookie team with a rookie driver it sure means a lot. We built that chassis in house, we designed it in house. Federated Auto Parts took a chance on a rookie team. But I do have a lot of experience here. My driving style is to go wide open into every turn, and I had to restrain myself to get one good lap. To be successful tomorrow, (Sunday) first and foremost, you have to stay on the black stuff. It doesn't do much for your average lap if you are in the gravel or the grass. The second goal is to stay on the lead lap. If we can finish in the top ten, hopefully we'll get some new race fans." Said turned a lap of 72.944 seconds (120.915)

Despite Said's limited Winston Cup experience, his record at Watkins Glen is impressive. In two career starts here, both of which came in 1998, Said placed Jimmy Spencer's Busch Series car on the pole and Jimmy Spencer's Winston Cup machine fifth. Spencer started that race while nursing an injury, but turned the car over to Said, who moved the car from the back of the field to a 20th place finish.

Two-time defending race champion Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet) will start third. Rookie Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac) and Mark Martin (No. 6 Valvoline/Cummins Ford) round out the top five.

Tickets are still available for Saturday and Sunday by calling the Watkins Glen International ticket office at (607) 535-2481.

Derrike Cope (No. 30 Jimmy Dean Pontiac) - "Our motor broke on the first lap (in practice). Our guys worked real hard to get a motor in to make this lap. That wasn't a bad first lap, so maybe we can work on it tomorrow and maybe get a victory."

John Andretti (No. 43 STP Pontiac) - "It was o.k. The track actually changed a little bit since practice this morning. No matter where we go, we can get to the front. This team works themselves awfully hard to get to the front."

Bobby Labonte (#18 Interstate Battery Pontiac) - "Our day was going good until it started raining. We cut a tire down in practice and tore up our race car, so we only got one lap and a half in this car and got it ready to go."

Tony Stewart (#20 Home Depot Pontiac) - "We did okay. My mental frame wasn't too good this morning because we needed all the practice we could get. I didn't think five laps was going to be enough to qualify today. This team did a great job getting this car ready."

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Derrike Cope , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Boris Said , Jimmy Spencer , Mark Martin