After a morning filled with sporadic rain showers that delayed the first Winston Cup practice nearly three hours, first-round qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway was held under dark cloud cover. Qualifying began shortly after 5:00 p.m. CDT,...
After a morning filled with sporadic rain showers that delayed the first Winston Cup practice nearly three hours, first-round qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway was held under dark cloud cover. Qualifying began shortly after 5:00 p.m. CDT, and all five Roush Racing drivers circled the 2.66-mile oval in Talladega, Ala., with two cars locking into the top 25, guaranteed of a starting spot in Sunday's race. Mark Martin was the 19th of 48 entrants to qualify, Chad Little 23rd, Matt Kenseth 30th, Kevin Lepage 34th, and Jeff Burton was the 48th competitor to make his two laps of qualifying.
Mark Martin, No. 6 Eagle One/Cummins Ford Taurus (5th quickest, 51.386 seconds) "That was a spectacular lap. I give all the credit to Jimmy Fennig and the guys. This is the same car we ran in the Daytona 500, and it's a great car. I am thrilled with our lap. We've come so far with our restrictor-plate program in the last few years. It wasn't that long ago when I took a provisional to get in this race. We've really come a long way."
Chad Little, No. 97 John Deere Ford Taurus (14th quickest, 51.527 seconds): "That was a good run for the John Deere team. We were a little quicker in practice, but you're never really able to get a clean lap around here during practice. It will definitely be fast enough to lock us into the top 25, and with that we can concentrate on the race setup tomorrow. Getting the car to handle in the draft is our main concern here on out, and with some favorable weather around the corner, hopefully we'll be able to get the full practice time in."
Matt Kenseth, No. 17 DEWALT Tools Ford Taurus (35th quickest, 52.006 seconds): "That wasn't as fast as I thought we'd be. Robbie (Reiser) and I are going to have to put our heads together and find some more speed. We were great during the Daytona 500, so I think we know what we need to do to race the car. We just haven't gotten qualifying down yet."
Kevin Lepage, No. 16 FamilyClick.com Ford Taurus (40th quickest, 52.135 seconds): "We're not at all happy with that lap. We had a lot more spoiler going out than before and that hurt us. We'll just work on the race setup and get ready for Sunday by getting the car to work well in the draft."
Jeff Burton, No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford Taurus (48th quickest, Did Not Start): "The oil pump seized and we were unable to make our qualifying run. It's something that doesn't happen very often, but you can't make a two-lap qualifying run with no oil pressure. The light wasn't a factor, in fact, we tested here in conditions similar to this. You basically run around here with your eyes closed anyway, so the track lighting wouldn't have been a factor. We have some work to do before Sunday, but the weekend is far from over."