SBRS: Graduates fast at Charlotte

Skip Barber grads were quickest and most dominant in qualifying for Sunday's UAW-GM 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway as they secured the four best spots on the grid and six of the Top-10 spots overall. The alumni team of Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, ...

Skip Barber grads were quickest and most dominant in qualifying for Sunday's UAW-GM 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway as they secured the four best spots on the grid and six of the Top-10 spots overall. The alumni team of Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, Jerry Nadeau and Jimmy Spencer will start from the 1-2-3-4 positions, respectively, after completing rounds of the 1.5 mile quad-oval within 0.064 sec. of each other. The top three positions held by the Barber trained racers are separated by only 0.012 sec. Fellow Barber grads Bill Elliott and Jeremy Mayfield joined the four racers in the Top-10 with seventh and tenth best times, respectively.

Gordon, racing at a track he has had tremendous success on, earned his second pole of the season with a lap time of 29.101 sec. (185.561 mph). The Skip Barber trained racer has won six poles and three races at Lowe's Motor Speedway between 1993 and 1998. During qualifying, the three-time champion frequently consulted with his teammate, Jerry Nadeau, sharing set-up, running and trade secrets. Both seem to have benefited from the exchange.

Winston Cup leader Bobby Labonte ran strong and set the early pace but was eventually bested by Gordon. A strong result by Labonte this weekend could position him firmly in the driver's seat to win the championship.

The front four had improved upon earlier practice times, which had run under daylight. While Gordon, Labonte and Nadeau improved from fourth, fifth and eighth, respectively, it was Spencer who made the greatest bound at the evening session, leaping from 14th to qualify in fourth.

- Andrew Torres

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup , Other open wheel
Drivers Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Jimmy Spencer , Jerry Nadeau , Skip Barber