Pocono 500 Friday notebook By Brett Borden LONG POND, Pa. (June 18, 1999) Notes and quotes from Friday's Bud Pole Qualifying for Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. Historically, Jeff Burton has done such a good job of moving towards ...
Pocono 500 Friday notebook By Brett Borden
LONG POND, Pa. (June 18, 1999) Notes and quotes from Friday's Bud Pole Qualifying for Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway.
Historically, Jeff Burton has done such a good job of moving towards the front on race day in his No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford, he almost doesn't know what to do with himself now that he qualifies well on an almost regular basis. Burton qualified 8th Friday for Sunday's Pocono 500, his eighth top-10 qualifying effort of the season. "We're not used to seeing the front of the start, so it will be different for us," Burton said. "The car just drove a little bit different in the tunnel turn and off of (Turn) 3 than I wanted it to. I just couldn't get in the gas and stay in the gas like I wanted. If you're gonna run up front and sit on the pole here, you've gotta be able to get in that gas quick and stay in it. I got in it quick, but had to come back out of it. It was a good lap, though."
Dale Jarrett's car almost picked up where it left off. The same No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford that ran off and hid at Michigan last week will sit on the outside row Sunday in Pocono. "Yeah, the same car as Michigan," Jarrett said. "The guys just cleaned it up and got it ready to go again. When you get a good race car, I think any driver will tell you that when you get something that feels good to you, you sit good in the seat and all of those things work - that's the kind of car you want to race as much as you possibly can. Even though the two tracks are totally different, the reason the car won the race last week was because it handled well and this is definitely a handling race track."
Jeff Gordon, the same man who has finished no worse than 2nd in his last four Pocono starts, will have his work cut out for him on Sunday. Gordon put in his worst qualifying effort of the year Friday, putting his No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet 17th on the starting grid. "We're working hard," Gordon said. "Our effort is there. We're trying to do everything we possibly can to stay on track and get some momentum. I'd much rather be at the top of the points leading and have that type of pressure than to be where we're at. You just play the cards you've been dealt. That's what we've got right now. We're doing everything we can to make up some points. We always take about the same amount of risk. You do what you can to win races."
Tony Stewart got his first taste of qualifying at Pocono. He put his No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac 12th on the starting grid, his best qualifying effort since he started eighth at Talladega. Stewart started seventh at California the following week, when Bud Pole Qualifying was rained out and the starting grid was set based on points. "This place is a pretty unique track -- it's the momentum that you carry around this place and the high speeds that you run here. And having three totally different corners -- it makes you be perfect in all three and it's hard to get the car set up for three different corners."
Bobby Labonte, who qualified 3rd on Friday, leads all drivers with 12 top-10 starts in 15 races.
Gordon and Mark Martin, who qualifed 10th on Friday, are the only two drivers in the series who have qualified in all 14 first-round qualifying sessions this season.
There have now been 10 different Bud Pole winners in the last 11 races at Pocono. Gordon is the only repeat winner in that span.
Source: NASCAR Online