Whoever said the last shall be first wasn't a NASCAR fan....or they hadn't met Mike Skinner. He was the first car out today, then had to wait 2 hours to see if his pole speed would hold up. He was fast enough by all of .004 seconds. This is...
Whoever said the last shall be first wasn't a NASCAR fan....or they hadn't met Mike Skinner. He was the first car out today, then had to wait 2 hours to see if his pole speed would hold up. He was fast enough by all of .004 seconds. This is his second WC Busch Pole....and gives him a sweep at DIS. He joins Mark Martin & Dale Jarrett as the only drivers with multiple poles this season.
Dale Earnhardt made it an all Richard Childress front row. This will be his best starting spot this year.
The biggest surprise of the first round had to be Billy Standridge. Using an R&D engine from Cale Yarborough Motorsports, he turned in the 7th fastest time of the round. This is by far the best showing for the Hanes Ford....his previous best starting spot has been 11th at Atlanta this past March. When you couple John Andretti's 3rd place effort (the best by a Ford) with Standridge's (his career best), Tony Santanicola & Co. should have their heads high at the #98 engine shop. And, don't forget, they did grab the pole at the last plate race. Bad luck for Brett Bodine & Sterling Marlin....Brett had a tire go down but managed to keep it off the wall in Turn 2, while Marlin had the wrong shocks and pulled it onto pit road. They'll have to make their runs tomorrow in 2nd round qualifying.
This week's fashion update....New Colors for the #75 of Rick Mast (Stren Purple), the #1 of Jerry Nadeau (Green & Gold R&L Carriers), the #29 of Jeff Green (Tom & Jerry replace Scooby Doo), and the addition of a lizard to the #25 Bud Car of Ricky Craven (gotta feeling we're gonna hear the phrase "Budweiser Lizards" more than a couple times in the coming months <G>). The old colors are back for Terry Labonte (Kelloggs Corn Flakes Yellow & White, so long to Tony the Tiger).
Rick Mast didn't get to race the last time we were here...he wasn't taking any chances today. His 9th place run was his best time of the year.
Lake Speed continues to get more out of less. Still underfunded, and sponsor searching, they put in a solid 10th place run. With the usual bunch of teams with major sponsors in danger of missing yet another race, you've gotta wonder what some decision-makers are looking at when it comes time to fish or cut bait.
We may have been at this location already this year, but Daytona in July is a totally different animal than the one we see in February. With the forecast for tomorrow virtually a carbon copy of today's, don't look for 2nd round speeds to be drastically different. With that in mind, here's what the trouble train looks like this weekend: With a field of 42 the most likely scenario, the 3 who appear to be in the most precarious positions are Morgan Shepard, Dave Marcis, & Jeff Green. When you figure that both Marlin & Brett Bodine have yet to take a time, that could put Marcis in jeopardy, and Geoff Bodine's position is not all that strong either. Some of the guys in positions 33-38 will have to make some tough decisions before tomorrow morning.
This is the 38th annual renewal of the Pepsi 400....and it seems to get hotter every year, both on the track as well as the weather. There are only 6 former winners in this years field....Bill Elliott ('88 & '91), Dale Earnhardt ('90 & '93), Ernie Irvan ('92), Jimmy Spencer ('94), Jeff Gordon ('95), and defending champion Sterling Marlin ('96).
If DIS is a horsepower track in February, it's a handling track when we come back in the heat of the Summer. The winner here is usually the car that can stay on the white line in the turns, and slips the least. All you're hearing from the drivers is handling....and that's a far cry from what they were saying just 5 months ago.
Don't forget it's an 11AM EDT start on Saturday, so get that breakfast and those cartoons out of the way early and settle in for another nerve-wracking experience in "The Plate Zone".