Rookie gets Charlotte Pole with track record

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the first Bud Pole of his Winston Cup career Wednesday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway, gaining the top starting spot for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. The lap of 29.027 seconds at an average speed of 186.034 mph around the ...

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the first Bud Pole of his Winston Cup career Wednesday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway, gaining the top starting spot for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. The lap of 29.027 seconds at an average speed of 186.034 mph around the 1.5-mile oval breaks the previous lap record set by Ward Burton in October, 1994. Dale Jr. is the second driver this season to win his first pole, joining his Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) teammate Steve Park, who won a pole at Bristol (Tenn.).

Earnhardt already had the best qualifying average in Winston Cup and has qualified among the top ten in nine of the 12 races this season. The Bud team earned $36,000 for the pole.

Dale Junior:
"This is awesome. We knew this car was going to be excellent - it's the one we won with at Texas - and we felt like it was little bit better than the one we won The Winston with. It could've been a faster lap - I made a few mistakes and lost a little time in turns 3 and 4. I knew going into turn one that I just had to hold my foot to the floor."

"All day in practice, the car was flawless. Very comfortable and very fast. Even though we were the quickest car in practice, I told the guys that the car was faster than the lap times showed."

"The fans were great - I could hear 'em yellin' as I started to go out for the lap. That's what this is all about - I mean if the fans weren't enjoying it then it wouldn't be fun or worthwhile for me. Without the fans, it's just not very fun."

"This means a lot to get into the Bud Shootout next year. It's a pride thing for the guys - it shows you were one of the top cars in qualifying and it gives us a chance to run in Budweiser's race at Daytona."

About breaking a lap record that had stood since Oct. 1994: "In 1994, I was just starting my racing career in late model cars and I was just starting college."

"This car has great downforce, so the harder and faster I drive it into the corner, the better it seems to stick. The more air on the car, the better it likes it." "This car tested very well a couple of weeks ago, so I'm pretty confident that we're going to have a lightning-fast race car on Sunday. It's the longest race though, so we're gonna need some racing luck to get to the end."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Ward Burton , Steve Park