CarQuest 300 Thursday notes Shawn A. Akers CONCORD, N.C. (May 21, 1998) Notes Thursday from Bud Pole Qualifying for Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division CarQuest Auto Parts 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway: Randy LaJoie...
CarQuest 300 Thursday notes Shawn A. Akers
CONCORD, N.C. (May 21, 1998) Notes Thursday from Bud Pole Qualifying for Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division CarQuest Auto Parts 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:
Randy LaJoie is in an unusual position for Saturday's race. The two-time defending NASCAR Busch Series champion and driver of the No. 74 Fina Chevrolet finished 29th in Bud Pole Qualifying for Saturday's race on Thursday with a lap of 170.476 mph. LaJoie will receive the past champions' provisional and start from the 43rd and final spot on Saturday, but only if he starts and takes a lap during Friday's CarQuest Auto Parts 40-lap Challenge race, which gets under way at 1 p.m. EDT. LaJoie wasn't much for words following the first-round qualifying session Thursday. "The track's pretty slick," he said. "Oh well, we'll race good."
Jim Bown suprised a few people Thursday, qualifying his No. 51 Barefoots/Rose Auto Chevrolet in the third position with a lap of 172.623 mph. He'll start alongside another surprise qualifier, Dale Fischlein, in the second row on Saturday. "That's the main objective here," Bown said. "Qualify good and not have to run the qualifying race. No one wants to have to do that. We expected it to be a little slicker than it was. I just didn't get it down enough there. It's the luck of the draw with the time of day here. We were lucky enough to draw a high number."
Jeff Green did the Washington-Erving Motorsports team and its sponsor, Dr Pepper, proud by making it solidly into the field for Saturday's race. Green, filling in for the injured Jimmy Foster, qualified 21st with a fast lap of 171.103 mph. Green is currently searching for another ride after his No. 29 Diamond Ridge Motorsports NASCAR Winston Cup team folded earlier this season.
Kenny Irwin, the rookie driver of the No. 28 Texaco-Havoline Ford in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, is taking a turn in a NASCAR Busch Series car this weekend for the first time. Thursday, Irwin attempted to qualify the No. 48 Unifirst Uniforms Chevrolet of Sammy Kershaw Motorsports. His first NASCAR Busch Series qualifying attempt wasn't too successful. Irwin wound up 50th out of 54 cars during first-round qualifying Thursday, turning a fast lap of 166.353 mph. The weekend may turn out to be a wash for Irwin if he doesn't finish in one of the top eight spots in the CarQuest Auto Parts Challenge Race Friday. Irwin and the No. 28 Texaco-Havoline NASCAR Winston Cup Series team did not quailfy for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600.
Rich Bickle was able to nail down the 28th and final first-round spot for Saturday's race. In his first effort in the unsponsored No. 91 Bickle-Smith Motorsports Ford, Bickle turned in a lap of 170.589 mph.
Four cars spun out and crashed during Bud Pole Qualifying. Gary Laton, a driver from nearby Albemarle, N.C., got the worst of things. The driver of the No. 46 Tampico Citrus Punch Chevrolet spun out coming out of Turn 4 and hit the wall hard on the driver's side. He had to be pried out of the car and was taken off on a stretcher and put in an ambulance. Jeff Purvis, the driver of the No. 4 Lance Snacks Chevrolet who is going for his third straight top-10 finish, spun out on the back stretch and hit the wall, heavily damaging his car. Purvis was uninjured in the crash. Mark Krogh, who had the fastest time among all NASCAR Busch Series drivers during an early practice session Thursday, spun out in Turn 4 and heavily damaged his No. 80 Chevrolet. Krogh, however, was unhurt. Andy Santerre, driver of the No. 47 Monro Muffler and Brake Chevrolet and currently the leading candidate for Raybestos Rookie of the Year, also spun out and hit the wall coming out of Turn 4, but was uninjured. He, along with Krogh, will participate in Friday afternoon's challenge race for the final eight spots in Saturday's race.
Source: NASCAR Online