First-round qualifying at Pocono Raceway began shortly after 3:00 p.m. EDT under an overcast sky, and all five Roush Racing drivers circled the 2.5-mile tri-oval in Long Pond, Pa., with three cars locking into the top 25, guaranteed of a starting...
First-round qualifying at Pocono Raceway began shortly after 3:00 p.m. EDT under an overcast sky, and all five Roush Racing drivers circled the 2.5-mile tri-oval in Long Pond, Pa., with three cars locking into the top 25, guaranteed of a starting spot in Sunday's 500-mile race. Mark Martin was the first of 46 entries to qualify, Matt Kenseth third, Jeff Burton 13th, Chad Little 14th, and Kevin Lepage was the 26th competitor to make his one lap of qualifying.
Mark Martin, No. 6 Valvoline/Cummins Ford Taurus (6th quickest, 52.728 seconds):
"I'm so proud of this Valvoline/Cummins team. We started slow this
weekend. The guys never gave up. They earned it and deserve it. We were
the first car out today in the sun. We picked up from practice, and I'm
very optimistic for Sunday."
Matt Kenseth, No. 17 DEWALT Tools Ford Taurus (29th quickest, 53.463 seconds):
"The lap was okay. It's the best we've run all day, but we need to get better. The DEWALT team has worked hard and we've made progress. We've got to find some speed and handling before Sunday, though. I know Robbie (Resier) and the guys will get the job done."
Jeff Burton, No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford Taurus (8th quickest, 52.751 seconds):
"We'll take that. We picked up a few tenths from practice, and that's always a bonus. I thought it was a good overall lap, but Buddy (Parrott) said we were a little off in (Turns) 1 and 2. We must have been great everywhere else because right now we're in the third spot, less than one tenth off the pole. We've got a good race car here this weekend, and we still have time to make it even better."
Chad Little, No. 97 John Deere Ford Taurus (43rd quickest, 54.227 seconds):
"I'm surprised with that time. It felt like a lot better than that. We lost our speed going into Turn 1, and now looking at the splits, we lost four tenths to the pole sitter. We're going to have to sit down and figure out how to make this John Deere car better. We can't be this far off the pace when the race starts on Sunday."
Kevin Lepage, No. 16 FamilyClick.com/TV Guide Ford Taurus (18th quickest, 53.212 seconds):
"The is the best car that I've had here with Roush Racing. That time will lock us in, but I've got to thank Pat (Tryson) and all the guys for their hard work. The FamilyClick/TV Guide Taurus was good, and I've got a crew chief who knows this track. I lost the nose of the car on the Tunnel Turn and slid up high, almost into the wall, but I picked up the throttle and turned at the last second. We picked up two tenths from practice, and a top 20 starting spot for Sunday."