Rusty Wallace - A Good Lap, But No Pole

Wallace turns good lap, but no Bud Pole By Shawn A. Akers DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 6, 1999) Rusty Wallace was fastest in January testing and was second-fastest in practice Friday. With a fast lap of 194.187 mph in Bud Pole Qualifying, ...

Wallace turns good lap, but no Bud Pole By Shawn A. Akers

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 6, 1999) Rusty Wallace was fastest in January testing and was second-fastest in practice Friday. With a fast lap of 194.187 mph in Bud Pole Qualifying, considerably faster than anything he'd run yet this year, Wallace was looking strong Saturday to win the Bud Pole for next Sunday's Daytona 500.

The only problem is, Wallace was only the second of 58 cars to hit the race track during first-round qualifying for the "Great American Race," at Daytona International Speedway. Too many talented race teams behind him had an opportunity to knock him from his perch.

Wallace eventually finished sixth, and ensured himself a solid starting spot for his respective Gatorade 125-Mile Qualifying Race, scheduled for next Thursday at the 2.5-mile trioval.

Wallace lasted a while on top, but eventually it was Mike Skinner, a two-time Bud Pole winner at DIS, who was able to best Wallace's speed. The 29th driver to qualify, Skinner turned in a fast lap of 194.536 mph.

Skinner soon lost the top spot to Tony Stewart, who then gave way to Jeff Gordon, who won his first Daytona 500 Bud Pole with a fast lap of 195.067 mph.

Wallace wasn't sure his lap would hold up for the Bud Pole, but he certainly wasn't disappointed with it by any means.

"It's a good run," Wallace said. "It's the best we've run for the last two months down here, and you never know what happens when you go through the tech line. The car was right when it went through tech and the guys did an absolutely wonderful job.

"The motor was super strong and wherever we end up, that's where we end up. It's been a fun week and I've had a great time."

Certainly a change from past years at Daytona, where up until last season, Wallace had struggled noticeably during his NASCAR Winston Cup career. In fact, he hasn't fared well on both restrictor-plate race tracks, Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.

Wallace showed signs last year of turning things around at Daytona as he finished fifth in both the Daytona 500 in February and the Pepsi 400 in October.

Wallace won last year's Bud Shootout event, and he'll be on the pole for this year's Bud Shootout, which gets under way at noon EST on Sunday.

"Our restrictor-plate program has gotten so much better," Wallace said. "Last year, it was really, really good. We had great runs in both races here last year, and I led a lot of laps in both of them. Then, the year before, it was good also, so hopefully, I've got the jinx off me and I'm ready to win."

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Mike Skinner