Las Vegas Qualifying Story

Jarrett captures Las Vegas 400 pole Dave Rodman - NASCAR Online LAS VEGAS (Feb. 27, 1998) Dale Jarrett electrified a crowd of more than 10,000 fans by winning the Bud Pole Award Friday afternoon for Sunday's inaugural $3,549,861 Las Vegas...

Jarrett captures Las Vegas 400 pole Dave Rodman - NASCAR Online

LAS VEGAS (Feb. 27, 1998) Dale Jarrett electrified a crowd of more than 10,000 fans by winning the Bud Pole Award Friday afternoon for Sunday's inaugural $3,549,861 Las Vegas 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Jarrett, driving his familiar blue No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford Taurus, was the 41st of 50 cars that attempted to qualify for the 25 spots available on Friday in the 43-car field. His lap around the 1.5-mile speedway of 32.100 seconds, an average speed of 168.224 mph, bumped Geoff Bodine off the pole by .156 seconds.

That was a fairly large margin considering only .647 seconds covered the top-25 qualifiers.

Jarrett established the NASCAR Winston Cup Series qualifying record in the first series event here. The pole was the sixth of Jarrett's career and his first since June 13, 1997, at Michigan Speedway. By winning today's Bud Pole Award, Jarrett is eligible for the $68,400 76 Racing Challenge bonus that goes to the pole winner if he can also win the race.

"This is exciting," Jarrett said. "To be the first-time pole-winner or winner somewhere is exciting. It's unique. I don't win many poles anyway, but to come to a new place and win is exciting."

Rounding out the top-five spot -- in which all three manufacturers qualified -- were Bodine, 167.411 mph in the No. 7 Philips Ford; Ward Burton, 166.806 in the No. 22 MBNA America Pontiac; Thursday's practice leader Bill Elliott, 166.723 in the No. 94 McDonald's Ford; and defending NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, 166.605 in the No. 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet.

GM Goodwrench Service Plus 400 Bud Pole winner Rick Mast, Sam's Town Las Vegas 300 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division Bud Pole winner Mark Martin, Joe Nemechek, Derrike Cope and Rusty Wallace rounded out the top-10.

Daytona 500 Bud Pole winner Bobby Labonte qualified 11th.

"That's the fastest lap I've run since we've been here," said Bodine, who drove the ninth car to take the track. "We made some changes before qualifying and they worked. That was a pretty good lap.

"We're really excited. We've got a great team, a great group of people and that's what it takes to be successful in this business. We all (NASCAR Winston Cup teams) have basically the same cars and engines and all that stuff -- it takes people to make all this work and I'm glad I've got the people working with me that I have."

The field of 43 cars will be filled in Bud Second-Round Qualifying Saturday morning. Seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt was the 26th qualifier, the fastest of 25 cars that have not yet locked-in a spot in the field.

SOURCE: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Derrike Cope , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Joe Nemechek , Rick Mast , Mark Martin