"Front row" Joe Nemechek worked his qualifying magic again by snaring the pole for the Busch race at Talladega. His lap of 188.649 mph was good enough to beat the field, and score Nemechek his 16th career Busch pole. Joe Nemechek. Photo...
"Front row" Joe Nemechek worked his qualifying magic again by snaring the pole for the Busch race at Talladega. His lap of 188.649 mph was good enough to beat the field, and score Nemechek his 16th career Busch pole.
Nemechek is no stranger to sitting up front at Talladega. In 1997, he laid down a lap of 193.517 to set the tracks current qualifying record. This is his fifth Talladega career pole in the Busch series.
Nemechek in the No. 87 Chevy will be tough to beat on Saturday. He has already posted two victories this season at Las Vegas and Texas.
His Texas victory, however, was not without controversy. Following the event, Nemechek's car failed post race inspection with an illegal left- front spring. The No. 87 Chevy's crew chief, Eric Phillips was suspended for two races, and Nemechek's wife, Andrea (listed as the car owner), was fined $25,000.
Nemechek will attempt to put all of that behind him as he motors the No. 87 Monte Carlo around the 2.66-mile, steeply banked super speedway. Even without his crew chief, Nemechek and his team were able to make critical calls and improve the performance of his car.
When asked if he was surprised he turned such a faster lap than in his practice session, Nemechek replied: "You just never know until you go."
Starting on the outside of Nemechek will be Kasey Kahne. It looked like Kahne might score his first career pole until Nemechek clicked off his fast lap late in the session. Kahne's lap of 187.618 mph in the No. 38 Ford surprised even Kahne.
"I'm actually a little bit surprised with where we're at," said Kahne. "This is the same car that we had at Daytona. Our Great Clips team did a great job of making the car a little bit better than it was, and our Pro Engine is better, too.
"I'm excited. I was surprised to be first in practice and definitely surprised to be second now. I'm just looking forward to practice tomorrow and the race on Saturday."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified third in his Chance2 No. 8 Chevy, and should be a threat at Talladega. His restrictor plate record is stealth. Earnhardt has won six of the last ten-restrictor plate races in both Busch and Winston Cup. Currently, he has won all of his last three Cup starts at Talladega.
Ron Hornaday starts fourth followed by Stacy Compton in fifth. Championship points leader Todd Bodine starts 29th.