Reffner grabs Bud Pole for O'Reilly 400 By Dave Rodman FORT WORTH, Texas (Oct. 12, 2000) Bryan Reffner made a late season run at easing Chevrolets lack-of-poles pain in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series by winning the Bud Pole Thursday night for...
Reffner grabs Bud Pole for O'Reilly 400
By Dave Rodman
FORT WORTH, Texas (Oct. 12, 2000) Bryan Reffner made a late season run at easing Chevrolets lack-of-poles pain in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series by winning the Bud Pole Thursday night for the O'Reilly 400 presented by Valvoline DuraBlend at Texas Motor Speedway.
Reffner took advantage of the aerodynamic rules changes mandated by NASCAR officials in the last two weeks and turned a lap of the 1.5-mile speedway in 29.938 seconds, an average speed of 180.373 mph in the No. 3 Johns Manville Chevrolet Silverado.
Reffner's run eclipsed Jay Sauter's track record, which was set in Bud Pole Qualifying for the Pronto Auto Parts 400 in June 1999. Sauter's old record was 30.047 seconds, an average speed of 179.718 mph.
It was the third pole of the season by a Chevrolet and Reffner's second track record effort of the season. The Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., driver -- who has five NCTS career Bud Poles - earlier this season won the pole for the inaugural event at the Kentucky Speedway.
"It's about time we got another good one in," a jubilant Reffner said. This pole had additional meaning because his team owner, John Menard, was at the facility since his Indy Racing Northern Light Series team is on hand to compete in its season finale Sunday.
"It was just a perfect lap -- I mean a perfect lap," Reffner said. "We were full throttle all the way around. Les (Back, crew chief) and the crew just did a beautiful job.
"Not only did we practice good and qualify well they gave me a truck that's going to race well and that makes me feel really good about tomorrow. We've got a little work to do in Happy Hour and then we'll be ready."
Reffner's run, which came as the 30th truck of 44 that made qualifying laps, spoiled the strong effort by hometown team and driver David Starr. Starr, who went on-track 22nd in the No. 41 Case Construction Equipment Dodge out of Mike Farris' Fort Worth shop, ran the first lap by a truck over 180 mph in TMS history when he clocked 29.992 seconds/180.048 mph. It was his best career qualifying effort.
"You would go crazy if you stood and watched every truck run, hoping they wouldn't beat you," Starr said, grinning even while he shook his head a little sadly. "Yeah, I'm a little disappointed but I'm just excited about starting on the front row tomorrow and finishing strong in the race."
Greg Biffle, who needs to finish only 27th to clinch his and team owner Jack Roush's first NCTS championship, qualified third in the Grainger Ford with a lap in 179.265 mph. His teammate Kurt Busch qualified fourth in the Exide Batteries Ford (179.004 mph) and defending NCTS champion Jack Sprague rounded out the top-10 in the GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet (178.802).
Sprague had been the fastest in the two-and-a-half-hour practice that preceded qualifying, when both he and Reffner were faster than Sauter's track record, but couldn't back up his run in the cooler qualifying session.
"I got a little help out there," Sprague said of his practice lap, in which a draft off another truck helped pick up his speed. He was pleased after his qualifying effort.
"That was a good solid lap," Sprague said. "As a matter of fact it was absolutely prefect. I was wide open all the way around and never cracked the throttle once. There was nothing left in this truck today but what's more important is I've got a great race truck for tomorrow."
Andy Houston, Marty Houston, Ricky Hendrick and Terry Cook put Chevrolets in the next four spots while Dennis Setzer rounded out the top-10 in a Dodge.
Lance Norick, Randy MacDonald, Rick Ware, Ricky Sanders and Randy Renfrow took provisional starting positions to fill the 36-truck field.
Morgan Shepherd, Bobby Dotter, Wayne Edwards, Ron Barfield, Carl Long, Jay Stewart, Richie Hearn and Gene Christensen failed to qualify. -nascar.com-