Daytona 500: Round one preview

Just like old times: RCR car a 500 contender DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 14, 2006) -- Richard Childress Racing, the organization that for years dominated competition at Daytona International Speedway, has returned to the head of the pack at ...

Just like old times: RCR car a 500 contender

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 14, 2006) -- Richard Childress Racing, the organization that for years dominated competition at Daytona International Speedway, has returned to the head of the pack at NASCAR's most famous race track.

Granted, a Daytona 500 victory requires more than a Bud Pole, but RCR at least has the latter -- and an apparently good shot at the former, going into Sunday's 48th annual "Great American Race".

Jeff Burton, driving the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet, has a Childress car on the 500 pole for the fourth time; Dale Earnhardt (1996), Mike Skinner (1997) and Jeff Green (2003) account for the other three. Overall, Childress cars have won 10 poles at Daytona.

Childress-owned cars also have 20 victories at Daytona, all by the late Earnhardt, who during his career somehow found a way to both master the 2.5-mile tri-oval but falter in the Daytona 500. It was a puzzling paradox; for year's Earnhardt could win every Daytona race except the big one. The long-running frustration ended in 1998, when the seven-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion finally won NASCAR's biggest event.

This past Sunday, Burton claimed the 500 pole with a speed of 189.151 mph, his first pole since September 2000 at Richmond International Raceway. He'll lead the field Thursday in the first "Gatorade Duel at Daytona" 150-mile qualifying races.

Said Burton: "First of all ... this is just one qualifying run out of a long year. I think we have things in place to make a lot of noise. I think we have great race teams and drivers and some of the best people in the business. We'll see what we can do with it.

"There are a lot of obstacles that stand in the way of success and we've got to make sure we step on top of those and work real hard. But I think we've made huge strides in the right direction."

Added Childress: "We had a lot of positive changes at RCR. Every race is important. We want to come here and win the Daytona 500 ... winning the pole was a big plus. Everybody has worked so hard at RCR -- including the drivers.

"It's really great to see RCR back up front. We've won a lot of poles [at Daytona] and been up front a lot. We're just excited to be here."

-nascar-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Mike Skinner , Jeff Green
Teams Richard Childress Racing