NAPA 300 Bud Pole Qualifying looks to be a shootout By Dave Rodman DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2000) That the top-47 cars on Tuesday's cumulative NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division practice sheet were separated by only one second was...
NAPA 300 Bud Pole Qualifying looks to be a shootout By Dave Rodman
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2000) That the top-47 cars on Tuesday's cumulative NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division practice sheet were separated by only one second was no surprise. But the names on the top of the list after one day of on-track preparation for Saturday's season opening NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International Speedway certainly were.
Youngsters Kevin Harvick and Jason Jarrett and relatively inexperienced Mark Green were sandwiched among former NASCAR Winston Cup Series winner Bobby Hillin Jr. and two-time series champion and defending race winner Randy LaJoie after three hours and five minutes of practice.
Amazingly enough, by running fastest in the 70-minute afternoon practice Harvick, "the Kid" from Bakersfield, Calif., who steps into Richard Childress' new No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolets, became the favorite for the season's first Bud Pole Award, which will be decided in the session that begins Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Harvick, 24, turned a best lap of 48.086 seconds, an average speed of 187.165 mph, around the 2.5-mile trioval. Hillin, who displayed his new Kleenex colors on his No. 8 Chevrolet for the first time in anger and led the morning practice, was timed at 48.123/187.021. They were the only two drivers to top 187 mph.
Green, who steps into former championship winning owner Jeff Hensley's Exxon Superflo Chevrolets in NASCAR 2000, was third on the basis of his 48.209/186.687 effort and LaJoie, who is the defending NAPA 300 champion and who also won in 1997, was next up at 48.300/186.335.
Jason Jarrett, who makes his NASCAR 2000 debut in the family Rayovac Pontiac, was third best in the morning behind Hillin and Harvick and rounded out the top-5 with a lap of 48.405/185.931. The rest of the top-10 perpetuated the mix of the top-5, with "rookie" Ron Hornaday in owner Dale Earnhardt's championship-winning Chevrolet; Bobby Hamilton Jr.; NASCAR Winston Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year Scott Pruett, who is subbing for teammate Anthony Lazzaro; Buckshot Jones; and Matt Kenseth filling the log.
1999 Bud Pole winner Ken Schrader and LaJoie were on the front row last year, so there's no telling who will end up there tomorrow, when the top-25 starters will be locked-in. The remainder of the grid will be set in the second-round qualifying on Thursday, following the Gatorade 125-Mile Qualifying Races for the Daytona 500.
Fifty-seven cars are scheduled to make qualifying runs. Eighty-five minutes of practice are scheduled from 8 - 9:25 a.m. ET on Wednesday.