DARLINGTON, SC - Under gray skies and the threat of inclement weather, Elliott Sadler in the No. 38 RYR Ford busted a lightning fast lap of 170.147 mph to land his first career Bud pole position. Elliott Sadler. Photo by ...
DARLINGTON, SC - Under gray skies and the threat of inclement weather, Elliott Sadler in the No. 38 RYR Ford busted a lightning fast lap of 170.147 mph to land his first career Bud pole position.
"I'm still shaking right now," said Sadler. "I had to take a deep breath. I told the guys when I got out of the car that I was shaking and it was the best I could do. I felt like I hit all my marks."
"It was pretty exciting to wait through all those cars," Sadler continued. "To go out that early and have to wait through people like Jeff Gordon, Jerry Nadeau and especially Ryan Newman; I didn't even want to hear his lap time. I just kind of waited to hear what the crowd's reaction was gonna be when he went."
Starting on the outside pole will be Ryan Newman in the No. 12 Penske Dodge. Newman posted a lap of 169.374 mph: "I just messed up the first lap getting into one and two and didn't get the lap I wanted," said Newman. "It was really my fault. We've got a car that was capable of winning the pole."
"Elliott Sadler laid down a good lap. We'll just see what the ALLTEL Dodge can do in race trim. The track got a little faster, that's about it. I didn't adapt the way I should have."
Rounding out the top ten are Jerry Nadeau, Jimmy Spencer, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Ward Burton, Sterling Marlin, Michael Waltrip and Todd Bodine.
Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart starts twenty-seventh and the highest placed rookie in this week's event is Greg Biffle in 17th.
"That wasn't bad," said Biffle. "I continue to make small mistakes qualifying. Everybody can come back and say 'I missed a little here or a little there.' I got a little aggressive after the gas down there and got a little sideways right when I started to push it down, but I'm really excited about it.
"My last practice qualifying run wasn't that good and it obviously cooled off a bunch. I knew I was really gonna have to step it up, so I stood on top of the trailer and watched a lot of guys and that helped me with what I needed to do. I'm pretty happy about it."
Current Winston Cup championship point's leader Matt Kenseth will roll off 12th: "That was awesome," said Kenseth. "Hopefully, that will get us a top 15 at least, so that was really good. Usually qualifying is always our weak point here by far. We're normally in the thirties every time I come here, so that's really awesome. That's by far the best we've ever done."
Since the beginning of the season, Mother Nature has wreaked havoc on race weekends. If meteorologists are right, this weekend's Darlington races will prove no different. Busch and Truck qualifying were a wash on Thursday and although the Winston Cup series managed to squeeze in their qualifying session Friday, weather reports looked dodgy for Saturday and Sunday, with a 70% chance of rain both days.
In other on track activity Friday, Busch teams in their final practice session. Mike Bliss in the No. 20 Chevy posted the fastest lap with a speed of 166.405 mph. Pole-sitter Stanton Barrett in the No. 60 Roush Ford was only 21st fastest, almost 5mph off Bliss' top speed. In accordance with the NBS rulebook, the Busch series starting grid was set according to owners' points from the close of last season due to foul weather.