Dodges drop with the mercury By Brett Borden PHOENIX (March 26, 1999) The Dodge teams made a statement one week ago by capturing both slots on the front row in qualifying at Miami-Homestead Speedway. They were looking to make it two-for-two...
Dodges drop with the mercury By Brett Borden
PHOENIX (March 26, 1999) The Dodge teams made a statement one week ago by capturing both slots on the front row in qualifying at Miami-Homestead Speedway. They were looking to make it two-for-two at Phoenix International Raceway, considering that last year's Bud Pole winner there, Stacy Compton, was now in the fold. But a funny thing happened on the way to the front row the thermometer dropped about 20 degrees during the day, leaving the Dodge teams out in the cold. Compton posted the fastest time in practice Friday morning at Phoenix, but it was just a mirage when Bud Pole Qualifying came around. His speed, and his spot on the starting grid, dropped almost as fast as the mercury. Compton qualified a disappointing 6th, but looks for better things in Saturday's Chevy Trucks NASCAR 150.
"I am disappointed with my lap," Compton said. "These guys deserve better than that. I just drove into the corner too hard and got a little loose. This truck is set up, though, and I think that we will be up front for the race.
Compton was the only Dodge driver to make the top-10, but a trio of Ram riders came close. Butch Miller qualified 11th, Jimmy Hensley 13th and Randy Tolsma 15th. The Dodge brigade didn't have the inside track on this day, but they'll have the inside row taken care of Saturday.
"We had a really good turn three and four and a really bad one and two," Miller said. "We have a good race truck. I just didn't do a very good job getting the tires warmed up and that is what hurt us in one and two. But this team is very competitive and ready to win so I look forward to going to the front in the race."
Hensley was seventh-fastest in the first practice session, but lost three rows during the day.
"We were not as good in qualifying as we were in practice," he said. "I expected to be faster and start further to the front. I thought that the cooler temperatures would help us gain some speed, but I think it worked just the opposite."
Last week's Bud Pole winner, Tolsma, found the going a lot tougher in the desert than in the tropical setting of Homestead. He slid all the way to the 8th row.
"It certainly wasn't our best lap," he said. "The truck gave me a false indication of what it was going to do in Turns 3 and 4. It entered the corners good and was just a little tight coming off. The weather conditions definitely played a role coming from a sunny practice session to a cold, cloudy qualifying session.
"I am pleased with how this truck performed in the early practice and I feel confident that this will be a strong race truck. One week you are on the pole and the next week you're not quite where you expect to be. This is a sport that humbles you in a hurry, but that's why we come to the race track each week."
Source: NASCAR Online