Touchstone Energy 300 Thursday notebook By Brett Borden TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 22, 1999) Notes and quotes following Thursday Bud Pole Qualifying for the Touchstone Energy 300 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division race at Talladega ...
Touchstone Energy 300 Thursday notebook By Brett Borden
TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 22, 1999) Notes and quotes following Thursday Bud Pole Qualifying for the Touchstone Energy 300 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division race at Talladega Superspeedway:
Randy LaJoie was the highest qualifying NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division regular, putting his No. 1 Bob Evans Chevrolet third on the grid with a speed of 191.260 mph. LaJoie came to the 2.66-mile trioval speedway expecting big things, especially after winning the season-opener at Talladega's sister track, Daytona International Speedway.
"I really have an appreciation for Talladega. It's one of the fastest tracks the Busch Series competes on and it's definitely an exciting place to race. I seem to qualify and finish well there, except for '95. I only ran nine races that year and one of them was Talladega. I was involved in an accident and fell out early. Tommy Houston's team asked me to relieve him, so I jumped in. I was moving back up through the pack and I got tagged which caused the car to flip over a few times. It was a wild ride. I think I ended up finishing 16th.
"I'm looking forward to racing on a superspeedway this weekend. We've not had the greatest luck the past few races on short tracks, so Talladega is a welcomed change. We're taking the car that won Daytona and a brand new motor. I think we should really have something for them."
Mike McLaughlin qualified well in his first effort with new crew chief Steve Helwig. Helwig replaced Jay Smith at Cicci-Welliver Racing on an interim basis a week ago. With a speed of 190.620. McLaughlin put his No. 34 Goulds Pumps Chevrolet sixth on the qualifying grid.
Jeff Green came to Talladega ready to shake off two weeks of frustration after running well at Bristol Motor Speedway only to be knocked out of the race by an accident. Green put his No. 32 Kleenex Chevrolet 20th on the grid with a qualifying run of 189.699 mph.
"After being at short tracks the past two weekends, I am ready to race on one of the faster tracks," he said. "We've had some good luck and some bad luck these past few weekends, but the No. 32 crew is prepared to bring home another win for Kleenex."
Green won at Nashville Speedway USA three weeks ago.
Jason Jarrett put in a good qualifying run, turning a lap of 190.457 in the No. 33 Bayer/Alka Seltzer Chevrolet, ninth best of the day. Testing at Talladega back in January apparently paid off.
"Fortunately I have had the opportunity to test at Talladega and raced there last year as well. Hopefully we will be able to apply the drafting experience I got in Daytona to this weekend."
Jeff Purvis was going for his third Bud Pole Award at Talladega, but had to settle for a 21st-best speed of 189.665 mph, the same speed as Loy Allen. Purvis' crew chief, Johnny Allen, says the team's recent merger with the No. 29 team has helped the Lance Snacks Chevrolet cause. "The guys from the No. 29 team have jumped right in and have been eager to help," said crew chief Allen. "We were a little behind when we went to Daytona in February but we feel a lot more confident about the restrictor plate package we're bringing to Talladega. The entire Lance team is really pumped up and we feel good about our chances this weekend."
Tony Roper is still riding the momentum of a top-10 finish at Bristol Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 61 IWX Motor Freight Pontiac qualified eighth with a speed of 190.472 mph.
"That finish (10th at Bristol) has done a lot for our team," he said. "The guys on this team work so hard. It's a lot easier to work hard when you get a strong finish. The race also gave us a chance to work and learn more about the cars."
Source: NASCAR Online