Jarrett, Yates sweep Daytona front row again By Dave Rodman DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 29, 2000) Robert Yates Racing drivers Dale Jarrett -- who won the 2000 Daytona 500 -- and Ricky Rudd Thursday night swept the front row starting ...
Jarrett, Yates sweep Daytona front row again
By Dave Rodman
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 29, 2000) Robert Yates Racing drivers Dale Jarrett -- who won the 2000 Daytona 500 -- and Ricky Rudd Thursday night swept the front row starting positions for Saturday night's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Jarrett, the three-time Daytona 500 winner who was the 24th to qualify in the 46-car Bud Pole Qualifying order, posted a lap of 47.988 seconds, an average speed of 187.547 mph around the 2.5-mile oval in the No. 88 Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Ford. It earned him his second straight Daytona pole his third of the season and the 10th of his career.
Rudd, who went out one car before Jarrett and was the fourth driver to sit on the pole in the session, ended up on the outside of the front row, which is where he started the Daytona 500 in February. His lap in the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford was in 48.097 seconds, an average of 187.122 mph.
In all, Fords took 13 out of the top-25 starting positions. Bill Elliott, who has won two Daytona 500s and two Pepsi 400s and who is Daytona's qualifying lap record holder, earned the third spot with his lap of 48.163 seconds/186.865 mph.
Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Dave Blaney qualified fourth -- his best start of the season -- in the No. 93 Amoco Pontiac with a lap of 186.676 mph. Mark Martin in the Valvoline Ford was fifth with a lap of 186.212 mph. Ward Burton and Tony Stewart in Pontiacs, Jerry Nadeau in a Chevrolet and Jeff Burton and Elliott Sadler in Fords rounded out the top-10 starters.
Jarrett, the three-time Daytona pole winner who is currently third in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings, said the qualifying coup bodes well for the Yates team's second half hopes. The Daytona round, the 17th of 34 races this season, unofficially kicks off the second half of the season.
"Yeah, I think this is a good way to get the second half started," said Jarrett, who has scored top-7 finishes in the last six races to vault his way back into the race to defend his NWC championship. "We've both been performing exceptionally well -- I think the last six or seven races both teams have been working together the best that I've seen the two car situation work at Robert Yates Racing -- it's benefited both teams greatly and I think this is a great way for it (second half) to start."
Jarrett and Rudd both participated in a test session here two weeks ago, as did Nadeau and both claimed it was a big help.
"I think it definitely helped us," Rudd said emphatically. "We didn't really think we were gonna be that great. But having a chance to work on the car, tweak on the car, so I think we finally got something that helped a little bit."
Jarrett, as expected, had an opinion on the fact that only three Chevrolets qualified in the top-25. Richard Childress Racing teammates Mike Skinner (15th) in the Lowe's Chevrolet and Dale Earnhardt (18th) in the GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevy were the only Bowtie men besides Nadeau to make it into the 43-car field in first-round qualifying.
Every Pontiac except John Andretti's debuting No. 43 Cheerios car (28th) was in the top-25.
"Apparently they make downforce, which creates some drag," Jarrett said, anticipating wailing from the Chevrolet camp, but also citing Jeff Gordon" victory in the DieHard 500 in April at Talladega Superspeedway. "They've got better cars now and if they can win at Talladega they can win here.
"We said a lot of the same things but we knew when it came time to race we had a good chance."
Earnhardt agreed. Statistics this season in qualifying favor Ford, which has won 11 Bud Poles. Chevrolet has five and Pontiac, one.
"We're really lost in qualifying, but qualifying isn't the race," Earnhardt said, singing the Chevrolet anthem for this night. "I know we're going to be able to get in there and race with them. We picked up a lot from practice."
The 43-car field will be set in Bud Second-Round Qualifying at 6:30 p.m. ET. That will be preceded by NASCAR Winston Cup practice from 3-5 p.m. ET. Happy Hour final practice for the Pepsi 400 is set for 8-9 p.m. ET.
The race is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on Saturday and will be telecast live by CBS Sports and broadcast on the affiliate network of MRN Radio.