BUSCH: Darlinton Qualifying Story

Burton sails to Bud Pole for Diamond Hill Plywood 200 Shawn A. Akers - NASCAR Online DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 20, 1998) Jeff Burton is starting to get the hang of Darlington Raceway. And that's bad news for his competition. Burton,...

Burton sails to Bud Pole for Diamond Hill Plywood 200 Shawn A. Akers - NASCAR Online

DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 20, 1998) Jeff Burton is starting to get the hang of Darlington Raceway. And that's bad news for his competition.

Burton, who finished second and first in the last two NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division races held at Darlington, put his No. 9 Track Gear Ford Taurus on the Bud Pole for Saturday's Diamond Hill Plywood 200, turning a fastest lap of 164.562 mph at the 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval.

"It was a good lap, but to be honest with you, this hasn't been real easy," said Burton, who won the Dura Lube 200 Presented by Trak Auto at Darlington last August. "We struggled quite a bit this morning (in practice). We also got the clouds to come out at the right time. That's just one of those lucky things you get once in a while. We've got a good car, but we definitely got some help from the clouds."

Burton edged out fellow NASCAR Winston Cup Series regular Dick Trickle for the Bud Pole. Trickle's lap of 164.446 mph will put him on the outside of Row 1 at the start of Saturday's 147-lap event.

"I've been having trouble with a push through one and two, so I've had to hold it wide open through turns three and four," said Trickle, driver of the No. 64 Schneider National

Chevrolet. "I was able to do it again for two laps, and it paid off. I was real happy with the lap. I was thinking to myself that this better be a good lap because I was wide open through three and four.

"This is a driver's race track and I feel like I get around here pretty good, but if you don't have a good race car under you, it doesn't matter how well you drive. But the guys on this team put a great car together for me this weekend."

Jeff Purvis was the top NASCAR Busch Series regular, taking third with a lap of 164.402 mph. Purvis' No. 4 Lance Snacks Chevrolet was one of the final five cars to qualify.

"That was a good lap," Purvis said. "We were sixth overall in practice, but we didn't know that Burton was going to go as fast as he did. We bettered ourselves from practice, but there were some surprises up there. I'm sure we were one of them."

Elliott Sadler, the Bud Pole winner for last year's Diamond Hill Plywood 200, turned in a fast lap of 164.281 mph, putting him on the outside of Row 2 alongside Purvis.

"That's not too shabby," Sadler said. "It's a lot better than we expected. It three-tenths quicker than what we ran in practice. I think I had a little left on the table, but that's definitely a good run for us.

"We've been struggling the last 10 to 15 races in qualifying, so it's good that we got the outside pole last week (at Nashville), and then we come here and get a top-five start. We'll have some good company up front with Jeff Burton, Mark Martin and Dick Trickle. It's good that we're up front, but even better, we get to pit on the frontstretch. We're going to have a great car for the race."

Martin, who has five career NASCAR Busch Series victories to his credit at Darlington Raceway, qualified fifth, at 164.243 mph. Rounding out the top-10 were Mark Krogh at 163.778 mph, Kevin Lepage at 163.653 mph, Randy LaJoie, who went 163.631 mph, Bobby Labonte at 163.615 mph, and Stanton Barrett, who ran 163.544 mph.

The race's defending champion and current NASCAR Busch Series point leader, LaJoie has yet to lead a lap in the series this season. He was satisfied with his performance Friday.

"The lap was pretty good, we'll take it," LaJoie said. "We really wanted to be on the frontstretch and it looks like that is where we'll be. This is a tough place, but the car is good and we'll be okay come tomorrow. To win this race two years in a row would be awesome."

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jason Keller, Mark Green, Jason Jarrett, Tracy Leslie, Andy Santerre and Joe Bessey all took provisionals for Saturday's race. Earnhardt spun out during his qualifying effort and failed to complete a lap..

Among those who failed to qualify were: Jeff Fuller, Patty Moise, Jimmy Foster, Ron Barfield (who hails from nearby Florence, S.C.), Dave Blaney and Mike Stefanik. Blaney spun out in practice and damaged his No. 93 Pontiac, and it showed in his qualifying laps, where he was unable to run faster than 158.239 mph.

The Diamond Hill Plywood 200 will run Saturday at 1 p.m. EST. y

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Bobby Labonte , Dick Trickle , Jason Keller , Jeff Fuller , Kevin Lepage , Mark Green , Jeff Purvis , Jason Jarrett , Stanton Barrett , Ron Barfield , Elliott Sadler , Mark Martin