Bliss breaks record, grabs Open pole

Mike Bliss broke the track record on his way to garnering the pole position for the Nextel Open. Bliss went out late in the run and turned a lap of 189.210 mph. It is the first time in his Cup career that Bliss' has shattered any kind of track ...

Mike Bliss broke the track record on his way to garnering the pole position for the Nextel Open. Bliss went out late in the run and turned a lap of 189.210 mph. It is the first time in his Cup career that Bliss' has shattered any kind of track record.

"That was awesome," said Bliss. "In practice it wasn't too good in qualifying trim but they Net Zero/Best Buy Chevrolet was hooked up there. We worked on it; we knew we had to qualify good. It's such a short race maybe we need to be a little tighter to run the race and not let it come to us.

"The temperature cooling down helped a lot. First lap, I knew I screwed up. The second lap I knew I could get it better.

"I am really excited. We did great. Looking forward to starting on the front row."

Kyle Busch's lap of 188.699 mph was good enough for second. Busch becomes the first rookie to start on the outside pole for a Nextel Open.

"I am happy with that," said Busch. "That should give us a good starting spot for Saturday nights race."

Casey Mears, Travis Kvapil and Brian Vickers complete the top five.

Jason Leffler had a miserable afternoon at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He not only wrecked the No. 11 Chevy in practice but in qualifying as well. He will start the Nextel Open from dead last in 28th.

The winner of the Nextel Open transfers into the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jason Leffler , Casey Mears , Mike Bliss , Brian Vickers , Kyle Busch , Travis Kvapil