Earnhardt, Jr., Puts Menards 'Save Big Money' Car on the Pole at Bristol; Rookie Paul Menard also Qualifies in the Top 15 for Friday's Busch Race BRISTOL, Tenn. (Thursday, Aug. 26, 2004) -- Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driving the ...
Earnhardt, Jr., Puts Menards 'Save Big Money' Car on the Pole at Bristol; Rookie Paul Menard also Qualifies in the Top 15 for Friday's Busch Race
BRISTOL, Tenn. (Thursday, Aug. 26, 2004) -- Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driving the #81 Menards/'Save Big Money' Chevrolet for the first time, will start Friday night's Food City 250 NASCAR Busch Series race from the pole position while Dale Earnhardt, Inc., teammate Paul Menard, a Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender in the #11 Menards/Turtle Wax Chevrolet, will start on the inside of the eighth row.
Earnhardt, Jr., running in only his fourth Busch race this season, turned a fast qualifying lap of 126.570 mph (15.160 seconds) around the high-banked, half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway oval this afternoon to top the 51 entries attempting to qualify for Friday night's 43 starting positions. Menard earned his fourth top-15 starting spot of the season with a fast lap today of 125.134 mph (15.334 mph). Series points leader Martin Truex, Jr., whose Chance 2 Motorsports team also is part of the DEI family, will start 12th after a fast lap of 125.395 mph (15.302 seconds).
Race time Friday is 8 p.m. EDT with a live broadcast set for the TNT cable network.
"I think it's going to be a fun Friday night at Bristol, as is always seems to be here. We have two Menards cars solidly in the show, one starting on the pole. That's just great. Now we need to go out and run a good, solid race tomorrow night. I had a great car for qualifying today. My Menards car was so good that I don't think I drove it hard enough. The good news is that we have a great car. (Crew chief) Tony (Gibson) told me it's better that I didn't drive the car hard enough than to overdrive it. On this track, you can lose an awful lot of time if you overdrive the car. It's such a fine line. All in all, I think we'll be in good shape. It's great having Dale, Jr., as a teammate anywhere you go."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
"This is just great. I'm glad we have the opportunity to run the Busch race with Menards here this weekend. Originally, we had only planned to do three Busch races this year because life at the track is busy enough with all there is to do running the (Nextel) Cup Series. But when we got together with the Menards folks to run Paul's car, it seemed like a great idea to run this race with them. This place is so fast and so furious, I think it's going to be a great show. We're really happy with the progress we're making with the 11 (Paul Menard) car. He had a good run today, too. That team keeps inching ahead on getting Paul more comfortable in the car and going quicker. They're going to do great things."