The No. 10 Dodge of Patrick Carpentier took the first step towards earning his keep with Gillett Evernham Motorsports today after grabbing the pole for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Carpentier put down a lap of 29.349 (129.776 mph) to...
The No. 10 Dodge of Patrick Carpentier took the first step towards earning his keep with Gillett Evernham Motorsports today after grabbing the pole for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Carpentier put down a lap of 29.349 (129.776 mph) to earn his first pole of the season and career in Cup.
"If you would have told me I would have struggled on the road course last week and get the pole this weekend, I would have said you're crazy," said Carpentier. "This is amazing, the car was good this morning, but the guys made a few changes in the back and it really hooked it up."
It was a great lap for one of the nicest guys in the sport and a team that is trying to make it back into the top-35 in owner points. "I was going for the second lap thinking that it was going to be a little bit better, hoping that I was going to be in the race," said Carpentier. "Then they said, 'Shut her down, shut her down! You're in! You're on the pole! That was great."
The No. 10 team is currently 40th in the owners championship and only 259 back from 35th with a long way in the season left ahead of them. Carpentier was also the highest qualifying rookie for Sunday's race.
Starting second with another pleasant surprise is the No. 43 Dodge of Bobby Labonte. Labonte timed in with a 29.512 (129.059 mph) and earned his best starting position of the season on the outside of row one.
"Well I was after the rain delay, and the track cooled off quite a bit, so that helped us out," said Labonte. "I was pleasantly surprised, I didn't think it was going to be that fast, but with the track conditions like they were, I think it picked up. So we are excited about that, got a good lap in, and a good starting spot."
Labonte has been having a good season and is 23rd in the driver standings. With his recent contract to stay at Petty Enterprises, it is a good way to start a new chapter for Petty Enterprises and Labonte.
Having the best qualifying run of his season and starting third is the No. 66 Chevy of Scott Riggs. Riggs is 35th in the driver standings but the car is 36th in the owner standings. Riggs had to qualify his car in on speed and did a great job landing the No. 66 in the third position overall. Riggs grabbed third with a 29.531 (128.976 mph) and will roll of Sunday on the inside of row two.
Starting fourth is the No. 29 Chevy of Kevin Harvick who currently sits 13th in the driver standings, one spot out of the all important top-12. "It was a little bit sketchy. I think we were the fifth car to go out after the rain and it was just a little bit too loose. We got in the wall a touch there," said Harvick. "Overall it was a good timed lap for us. If we had to do it again, we'd probably tighten the car up a little bit but the car has been really good all day and I'm looking forward to Sunday."
Harvick was quick enough for fourth by clocking in with a 29.531 (128.976 mph).
Qualifying fifth and continuing to be the most consistent of all Hendrick cars is the No. 88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt qualified fifth with a 29.552 (128.885 mph) and once again showed consistency with his new team. Look for Earnhardt to have another solid day at New Hampshire baring any problems while trying to make up ground on Kyle Busch in the driver standings.
Starting sixth is the No. 41 of Reed Sorenson who has been on the hot seat and in the rumor mill this season. Sorenson qualified with a 29.565 (128.828 mph) and currently has the No. 41 Dodge 35th in owner standings.
Seventh was the No. 40 of Dario Franchitti with a 29.566 (128.824 mph). Franchitti looks to be getting more comfortable in stockcars and needs to continue to qualify his car in on time while trying to make up ground in the standings.
Eighth was the No. 1 of Martin Truex Jr., another name in the rumor mill for a new ride in 2009. Truex ran a 29.607 (128.645 mph) and has always been strong on the flat tracks.
Ninth was the No. 17 Ford of Matt Kenseth with a 29.612 (128.624 mph) . Kenseth was the highest qualifying Ford for Sunday's race .
Rounding out the top-ten was the No. 84 Toyota of A.J. Allmendinger with a 29.612 (128.624 mph). Allmendinger was the quickest Toyota for Sunday's race and continues to make strides in his Cup career.
Eleventh was the No. 19 Elliot Sadler, 12th was the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin, 13th was the No. 26 of Jamie McMurray, 14th is the No. 9 of Kasey Kahne, and 15th is the No. 16 of Greg Biffle.
Biffle announced earlier today his contract extension with Roush Fenway Racing for the next three years, until the end of 2011. "Certainly I'm very excited to announce that we've done a multi-year extension with Roush Fenway. It's a three-year extension -- 2009, '10 and '11 to drive the No. 16 car with 3M as the primary sponsor on it. 3M has stepped up. They had a multi-year deal to start with, but they came and re-upped, so to speak, re-committed to being on the car for those races," he commented. "It was a long process. I weighed certainly all of my options out and it felt like the 16 car is where I really wanted to spend my next three years driving."
Clint Bowyer and the No. 07 team, who earned his first victory at New Hampshire qualified 18th with a 29.687 (128.299 mph).
Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 team qualified 19th with a 29.693 (128.273 mph). The No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson was only good enough for 23rd with a 29.745 (128.048 mph).
Kyle Busch who is the series points leader and driver of the No. 18 qualified 27th with a 29.807 (127.782 mph).
Terry Labonte who is subbing in the No. 45 for Kyle Petty qualified 34th with a 29.897 (127.397 mph).
Joe Nemechek and the No. 78 Chevy team were the last to qualify in on speed with a 30.135 (126.391 mph).
Only two cars had to go home but they were the No. 34 of Tony Raines and the No. 21 of Marcos Ambrose.
In other news today, Casey Mears confirmed that he is leaving Hendrick Motorsports at the end of the 2008 season. "I've known now for a couple of weeks. Rick (Hendrick) and I sat down and had a talk. Right now, we didn't know exactly how things were going to play out so we haven't really jumped around to make any conclusions right away. But it's disappointing. I'd love to be there, obviously. Hendrick Motorsports is a great organization," he said.