BURTON, BOWYER TEAM UP TO SWEEP BRICKYARD FRONT ROW INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2006 -- Jeff Burton and Richard Childress Racing continued their season-long renaissance on one of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series' grandest stages Aug. 5 by...
BURTON, BOWYER TEAM UP TO SWEEP BRICKYARD FRONT ROW
INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2006 -- Jeff Burton and Richard Childress Racing continued their season-long renaissance on one of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series' grandest stages Aug. 5 by winning the pole for the 13th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Burton, driving the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet for RCR, earned his first career pole at the legendary 2.5-mile oval with a lap of 182.778 mph. He was the second driver in the qualifying line and took full advantage of the luck of Friday's qualification draw.
"It's pretty special," Burton said of winning the pole. "Obviously, we got a lot of benefit from going out early, but we knew we had a pretty good car because we only made a few little adjustments to it. It's real rewarding to sit on any pole, but to sit on the pole here means a great deal."
Burton's best qualifying result at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in 12 previous attempts was 16th in 1999. His best finish in the race is fifth, also in 1999. This is the second time this season Burton has scored the pole at a prestigious NEXTEL Cup Series race. He also won the pole for the Daytona 500.
Rookie RCR teammate Clint Bowyer joined Burton on the front row of the 43-car starting field with a lap of 182.771 in the No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet. It is Bowyer's best career NEXTEL Cup Series starting position and the best qualifying effort of a first-time starter in Allstate 400 at the Brickyard history.
The one-two qualifying effort for Richard Childress Racing, which won the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in 1995 with Dale Earnhardt and 2003 with Kevin Harvick, marks the first time in race history that teammates occupy the front row.
"This is Indianapolis, this is what you work your whole life for," Bowyer said. "And to be given a shot at even making a lap around here, I've got to give people rides in a (Corvette) Z06 for Chevy, I've made a lot of laps around here in the last couple weeks, and it's just unbelievable, unbelievable racetrack. I even got to play golf at a racetrack. It's pretty cool to be given those opportunities, and be given the opportunity to win a race now tomorrow. We've got a shot at this thing. We've got a fast hot rod, we're starting up front. Track position's key, and you've got to keep it up there."
Kurt Busch posted the third-fastest qualifying lap at 182.752 in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, but his efforts were rendered moot due to a crash in Turn 1 during the first post-qualifying practice.
Busch reported that his left-front tire went down entering the turn. His car hit the SAFER Barrier, with heavy right-side damage ensuing. Busch was unhurt, but he was forced to his backup car. Although he will line up third on the grid, he must drop to the back of the field to start the race, per NASCAR rules.
Bowyer also had a close call in the final practice Saturday, as his left-front tire went down on the main straightaway. But he was able to pull off the track without incident.
Kasey Kahne qualified fourth at 182.441 in the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge despite drawing the 50th -- and last -- position in the qualifying order, forcing him to make a run for the pole in the heat of the day. NEXTEL Cup Series points leader Jimmie Johnson was fifth in the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet at 182.238, while rookie J.J. Yeley put his previous experience as a competitor in the 1998 Indianapolis 500 to good use, posting a lap of 182.171 in the No. 18 Imitrex/GSK Chevrolet to qualify sixth.
Defending race winner Tony Stewart qualified 32nd at 178.909, one spot behind fan-favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. Four-time Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon qualified 16th at 180.505.
Kahne, who finished second to Stewart in the 2005 edition of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard despite leading 39 laps, summed up between qualifications and practice what it would mean to win the 2006 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.
"Everything," he said. "It would probably be the biggest race I could ever win, so we're going to do everything we can and we need to get these practices done, put the car back in the garage in one piece and wait for tomorrow."
Of historic note is that Michael Waltrip did not qualify in the No. 55 NAPA Dodge. Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will mark the first time since the last race of the 1975 season that a member of the Waltrip family -- either Michael or his older brother, Darrell -- has not participated in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race.
The other drivers who failed to make the field for the 13th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard were Paul Menard, Johnny Sauter, Kevin Lepage, Stephen Leicht, Bobby Hamilton Jr. and Derrike Cope.
The 2006 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. (ET).