TALLADEGA, Ala. - Elliott Sadler earned the Bud pole for Sunday's EA Sports 500 at Talladega with a lap of 189.945 miles per hour. This is Sadler's second pole this season; the first came at Darlington last March. "I'm pretty happy with that,"...
TALLADEGA, Ala. - Elliott Sadler earned the Bud pole for Sunday's EA Sports 500 at Talladega with a lap of 189.945 miles per hour. This is Sadler's second pole this season; the first came at Darlington last March.
"I'm pretty happy with that," said Sadler. "You've got to go through the room of doom and you have no actual help at all on the race track, so to run a 50.41 I'm pretty happy with that. The guys did a great job tuning the motor. The fab shop did a good job and I just want to start up front. This is the same car we finished third with in the spring and it's driving very, very well. We'll see what happens and see if that will hold out."
It is Sadler's second career Bud pole award. Jamie McMurray was the highest starting rookie in second. Jimmie Johnson, who was fastest in this morning's practice session, was third.
"We wish we could have backed up what ran what we did in practice," said Johnson. I'm a little disappointed. You just come through the room on that last try and NASCAR brings out a new comb with a finer tooth on it. When I walked up to the race car, Chad (Knaus, crew chief) didn't have a big smile on his face like he usually does. I think they didn't like a couple of things in the gray areas and we had to move some stuff around. It slowed the car down a little bit. I think we lost a little bit there and then it was a lot windier this afternoon than any of us anticipated. We thought the late draw was really going to help us. But the wind seems to still be pretty gusty out there and it looked like going early was the way to go."
Sterling Marlin and Jeff Gordon round out the top five.
"I ran real high on the first lap to just try and get some momentum built up for that second lap, Gordon commented. "The guys in the shop have been working hard, massaging on this body to get it as slick as possible for qualifying day. The engine has been phenomenal. We have new rules here, so it is a little bit of a learning curve for all of us. I'm real happy with that. I would like to have gone out a little later, like where we drew, but for the most part we're happy."
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., trying to capture his fifth consecutive Cup victory this weekend after facing injuries sustained at Dover last weekend, qualified 11th. Earnhardt, however, failed post-qualifying inspection after the rear quarter-panel on the Budweiser Chevy was deemed too low. He will have to start at the rear of the field, in 38th position.
Earnhardt stated that his concussion is not as much of an issue as his injured right foot. Which is causing him extreme discomfort, "After I hit the wall (at Dover) I was still conscious. I put my net down and took my helmet off. Then, I realized how bad my foot was hurting. It was just night- night. It was so much pain you'd rather be unconscious. Your body just shuts off."
Extra padding has been added to the No. 8 Chevy as well as a special carbon- fiber piece to protect his right foot from further injury. He will also test a different kind of helmet this weekend.
Earnhardt feels better and ready to race this weekend, "I'm good to go, sharp as a tack."
The No. 1 Chevy entry from DEI, driven this weekend by Jason Keller, also had its time disallowed for the same violation. Keller will start 43rd.
Championship point leader Matt Kenseth had to take a provisional starting spot and will take the green flag from 37th spot.
Forty-nine cars attempted to qualify for the forty-three-car field, failing to make the show were Steve Park, Kyle Petty, Mike Bliss, Todd Bodine, Jason Leffler and Kevin LePage.