Indianapolis Thursday qualifying

By David Reininger - Motorsport.com Indianapolis, IN (August 3, 2000) - Ricky Rudd set a new track record of 181.068 mph in capturing the pole position for Saturday's Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Rudd, driver of the ...

By David Reininger - Motorsport.com

Indianapolis, IN (August 3, 2000) - Ricky Rudd set a new track record of 181.068 mph in capturing the pole position for Saturday's Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Rudd, driver of the Havoline Ford Taurus #28, edged Darrell Waltrip off the pole by four one-hundredths of a second.

"I kind of hated to do that," said Rudd, when asked about bumping Waltrip off the pole. "Maybe someone will bump us off, and it will be a little bit easier to forget."

Waltrip, who last scored a pole position at Atlanta in November of 1995, 139 races ago, sat on the pole for 24 minutes, when Rudd reported to the track.

The crowd roared its approval of Waltrip's run as soon as the familiar voice of track announcer Tom Carnegie proclaimed the new track record. As Waltrip exited his Big Kmart Route 66 Ford Taurus the cheering reached a crescendo, continuing through the obligatory television and radio interviews.

"I was pumped. I was ready for it," said Waltrip. "The car was good and it made a great lap. I think I got most everything out of the car. I guess if I could go over it again I might be able to do a little bit better, but I kind of doubt it."

"That was fun for a little while, to be on the pole and break the track record. We're going to start up front and we got a shot at winning this thing on Saturday."

"I get excited about coming here. I hate to say this but this is my favorite race track. It has been ever since I was kid back in Owensboro.

"This is the place you want to perform. It's like Daytona, they have a lot of similarities - big purse, big audience, national TV - and Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the Holy Land. The greatest drivers in the world have walked through these hallowed grounds. That does something to me. If you're a purest race fan this is as good as it gets right here."

Waltrip used his final provisional two weeks ago at Pocono and needed to qualify on speed this weekend. Despite losing the pole to Rudd, Waltrip was pleased with his performance this afternoon. "That (time) is going to fall in the top six and that's all that matters, we can race from there."

Winston Cup points leader Bobby Labonte will start third in his Joe Gibbs Racing MBNA Pontiac. "That was a good lap for us. We ran a little faster in practice, but the track temperatures went up, too. This is a tough race track to qualify on. We gave up a little in turn one in practice, and I was best in turn one in qualifying. Go figure."

"The car is good, but trying to get it to go through all four corners here is tough. The car is as good as we can get it right now. This is the best we've qualified here the past few years. I guess our testing here paid off."

Jeremy Mayfield and Dale Jarrett rounded out the top five respectively, handing four of the top five starting positions to Ford.

Mayfield is running the same car he used two weeks ago at Pocono when a cut tire on the last lap cost him the victory. "My job was really easy today. The team gave me a great car and motor today. We showed up here and right off the truck we were good and I feel like we have a great race car. Anytime you qualify in the top 15 in a Winston Cup race, you have a decent shot at winning the race."

Defending Brickyard 400 Dale Jarrett will drive the same car he ran at Indianapolis last year. "That's what I like about our chance," said Jarrett. "We know what this car does. When we were here testing with race runs we were very excited about the way the car ran. It was fast and it stayed that way. We know there's going to be a lot of competition here, but we like our chances."

Qualifying continues on Saturday afternoon at noon. Also on tomorrow's card is the fourth and final round of the International Race of Champions which takes the green flag at 2:45 p.m.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Bobby Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield