IRVAN REIGNS IN QUALIFYING FOR SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR INDIANAPOLIS, July 30, 1998 - Ernie Irvan posted a track-record speed of 179.394 mph on the first qualifying attempt Thursday for the Brickyard 400, and he held on to win the pole for the...
IRVAN REIGNS IN QUALIFYING FOR SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR
INDIANAPOLIS, July 30, 1998 - Ernie Irvan posted a track-record speed of 179.394 mph on the first qualifying attempt Thursday for the Brickyard 400, and he held on to win the pole for the second consecutive year when the following 49 drivers couldn't top his fast lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Irvan's lap in the Skittles Pontiac came after a six-hour, 15-minute rain delay. He became the second two-time pole winner for this NASCAR Winston Cup Series event, as Jeff Gordon won the pole in 1995-96.
"It was an awesome lap," Irvan said. "I don't know what I could have done differently. My nerves are still in a bucket because I was the first to go out. I'm not good at waiting.
"A lot of good drivers went out late. The one we were so nervous about was Jeff Gordon."
Gordon, 1994 Brickyard 400 winner and defending NASCAR Winston Cup champion, qualified third at 178.324 in the DuPont/Quaker State/Pepsi/GMAC Chevrolet. 1996 Brickyard 400 winner Dale Jarrett qualified beside Irvan on the front row at 178.596 in the Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Ford.
"He knows how to get around this place," Gordon said of Irvan. "That was a heck of a lap. Everybody was shooting at him, but no one could come close."
Rookie Kenny Irwin Jr., an Indianapolis native, will start fourth in the Texaco/Havoline Ford after a lap of 178.260.
The fifth annual Brickyard 400 starts at 12:15 p.m. (CDT) Saturday. Second-round qualifying starts at noon Friday on the 2.5-mile oval. Defending race champion Ricky Rudd and past Winston Cup champions Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott and Darrell Waltrip will try to get into the field Friday after failing to qualify Thursday. Earnhardt won this event in 1995.
BRICKYARD 400 NOTEBOOK
Broadcast schedule: The Brickyard 400 will be broadcast live on ABC and the IMS Radio Network at 1 p.m. (EDT) Aug. 1. ESPN's "On The Grid" prerace show starts at noon (EDT) Aug. 1, while the IMS Radio Network prerace show starts at 12:30 p.m. Aug. 1.
ESPN2 will offer live second-day qualifying from 1-2 p.m. July 31.
ESPN and ESPN2 also will provide thorough coverage of Brickyard 400 practice and race previews July 31. Practices will be shown on ESPN2 from 6-7 p.m. July 31. The "Before They Go Green" preview will be shown on ESPN from 7:30-8:30 p.m. July 31.