Norwalk: Petty Enterprises qualifying report

Bobby Labonte and the No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team will start inside the top-five after grabbing the outside pole position for Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tool 301 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. B. Labonte started fourth in last...

Bobby Labonte and the No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team will start inside the top-five after grabbing the outside pole position for Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tool 301 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. B. Labonte started fourth in last week's Sprint Cup race at the Infineon (Ca.) Raceway. Sprint Cup rookie, Patrick Carpentier, won his first career pole to give Dodge Motorsports both front row starting positions.

Qualifying was delayed for nearly two hours after heavy rains came through the Loudon area. Only 24 cars had made qualifying attempts before the delay. The top-five qualifiers all made their qualifying laps after the delay.

This is the best starting spot for B. Labonte since winning the pole for the "spring" race at the Texas Motor Speedway in 2004. It is the best start for the No. 43 team since John Andretti started second at the Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway in 2002.

"The track cooled off considerably after the rain delay and that played into our favor," said B. Labonte. "We were happy with the car in practice, but we needed to pick up a few tenths. So we made a few changes and picked up over three and a half tenths, so we're really happy about that. It surprised me, actually, with the amount of forward bite the car had. I thought we would hang on to the pole, but I'm happy for Patrick. Plus, that's two good qualifying efforts in a row for the Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team."

Terry Labonte and the No. 45 Victory Junction Gang Camp Dodge team will start Sunday's race from the 34th position. T. Labonte had to deal with a "loose" condition off of the flat corners at New Hampshire Motor Speedway during practice. T. Labonte and crew chief, Stewart Cooper, made several changes to the No. 45 Dodge and both feel good about the car for Sunday's 300-miler.

"We qualified our way in and didn't have to use the past champion's provisional," sounded T. Labonte. "That is something that we have been striving to do. This team keeps getting better and we're showing that we can make these races by our qualifying time. The car was better than it was in practice, so that gives us confidence going into the race on Sunday."

-credit: pe

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Andretti , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Patrick Carpentier