BUSCH: Daytona Qualifying Notes

NAPA Auto Parts 300 Tuesday Notebook By Dave Rodman and Brett Borden DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 9, 1999) Notes and quotes following Bud Pole Award Qualifying Tuesday for Saturday's NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International...

NAPA Auto Parts 300 Tuesday Notebook By Dave Rodman and Brett Borden

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 9, 1999) Notes and quotes following Bud Pole Award Qualifying Tuesday for Saturday's NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International Speedway:

Sophomore NASCAR Busch Series driver Lyndon Amick was the main beneficiary when two competitors had their Bud Pole Qualifying times disallowed following post-qualifying inspections. Derrike Cope, who qualified 11th and Blaise Alexander, who slotted into 47th, had their times stricken due to technical irregularities.

Cope's No. 61 IWX Motor Freight Chevrolet was moved back due to an "unapproved part in the shock system," while Alexander's No. 20 Lisa Express/Dimension Warranty Chevrolet was hit for a shock "bleed hole below the mandatory minimum standard."

Amick, therefore, moved into the 25th starting position in his SCANA Chevrolet after qualifying with a lap of 187.508 mph.

Former Daytona 500 Bud Pole Award winner Loy Allen's Mark III Financial Services Chevrolet was withdrawn from the NAPA Auto Parts 300 Tuesday morning. NASCAR Busch Series Director John Darby reported the team broke its only restrictor plate engine and therefore had to pack up and go home early. The team had appeared in good shape after Allen was ninth-best in Monday's practice at 188.533 mph and 24th-fastest early Tuesday, at 187.122 mph.

A tumultuous week continued for the Bodine family. After missing the entire Monday practice, driver Barry Bodine was a loser to the "five-minute clock" that was put in effect when the Shoemaker Racing team lost time getting the No. 64 Miccosukee Indian Gaming Chevrolet through pre-qualifying technical inspection. Dad Geoffrey Bodine practiced the car, along with his son, and clocked a best of 182.942 -- good only for 62nd in Tuesday morning practice. The younger Bodine said the plan for Wednesday was to practice Wednesday morning for 85 minutes and that he would qualify the car.

Kelly Denton's woes continued in Bud Pole Qualifying Tuesday. Charley Henderson's car showed up in similar livery as NASCAR Winston Cup owner Junie Donlavey's -- yellow-and-red but lacking any sponsor signage save Henderson's own Food Country USA decals. On his first hot lap Denton apparently had the engine let go heading down the 3,000-foot backstretch and the car spun entering turn three. Miraculously, Denton made no significant contact with either the wall or the apron and he may be able to re-qualify on Wednesday.

Glenn Allen, driver of the No. 38 Barbasol Chevrolet, had a similar occurrence, except that it happened after he took the checkered flag for his 28th-best timed lap. Allen completed his second lap in 48.110 seconds, 187.07 mph, but when he turned the motor off after crossing the start/finish line, the radiator hose broke, causing the motor to lock up. Water spilled onto the track, and Allen spun out. When the Barbasol Chevrolet hit the track's flat apron, the nose of the car was bent upward.

Crew chief Dean Johnson will have to decide if the Barbasol team will stand on Allen's time or re-qualify in the second round.

"I'm not ready to make that decision yet," Johnson said immediately after qualifying. "We going to take the car apart and assess the damage and then make the decision. I would not say we suffered major damage."

Allen, the 1996 NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year, is in his first year behind the wheel of the Akins-Sutton Motorsports Chevrolet.

"The damage we suffered is really upsetting because we do not have the safety net of a provisional," he said. "We think we can put everything back together. We're just going to have to work all night to do it."

Mike McLaughlin was happy with his qualifying run. "Magic Shoes" put in the third best qualifying run of the day with a speed of 189.386 mph in the No. 34 Goulds Pumps Chevrolet.

"We had a good run, and we're happy with it," McLaughlin said. "I'm surrounded by good people, and everyone worked for the pole. We hoped we had a shot at it, and we did -- just came up a little short. We lost a little speed coming out of turn two for some reason. But overall, I can't complain. The main thing is to be there at the end of the race on Saturday."

Dave Blaney qualified well, though you wouldn't know it to talk to him after his run. The driver of the No. 93 Amoco Pontiac breezed around DIS at 189.175 mph, good for fifth.

"After the way we practiced, we're a little disappointed," Blaney said. "We thought we had a shot at (Bud Pole winner Ken) Schrader, for sure. We just didn't pick up anything -- this is what we ran in practice. We're in good shape for the race."

Bobby Hamilton Jr. ran in the FIRSTPLUS Financial ARCA 200 at Daytona on Sunday, finishing third. The experience apparently helped the second generation NASCAR driver, as he qualified sixth Tuesday with a speed of 188.949 mph.

"T&L got us a good motor, and Sadler & Sons had a great setup," Hamilton said. "I will be happy with anything in the top-25. Running Sunday's ARCA race really helped me a ton. I learned an awful lot out there. Now I can make some of the moves I've been watching the other guys make out there!"

Former NASCAR Busch Series champion Chuck Bown was very pleased with his run, at 188.159 mph, which was good enough for 15th on the grid.

"That was my best lap here, including testing," he said. "The biggest surprise, though, is that time is only good for fifth this early in qualifying. This is my best run at Daytona in quite a while. Five years ago I struggled here with the Hensleys. But they've had pretty good stuff the last few years."

Another driver who felt he did his best, even though his best wasn't good enough, was Todd Bodine. Bodine took the No. 66 Phillips 66 Chevrolet around DIS at a speed of 187.844 mph.

"That's as fast as we've run," he said. "We're still a little off. We'll be alright in the race. I'm not worried about it. Qualifying has little to do with the driver, that's why I look forward to the race."

Matt Kenseth was yet another driver who felt his car would do much better on Saturday than it did on Tuesday. His speed of 187.829 mph in the No. 17 DeWalt Chevrolet was good for 19th on the qualifying grid.

"That was an awesome run, for us," he said. "We're too slow to be a threat for the pole. I think this car will be good for the race. I ran this car at all the speedway races last year, and it drafts real good. It's slow by itself, but it will be a good race car for us."

Adam Petty came up big in his DIS debut. The fourth-generation NASCAR driver qualified 22nd at a speed of 187.778 mph.

"This is a big place to come to, to start out the biggest race of the season," said Petty. "I think we ran a pretty good lap. Now we'll wait it out and see if we can finish in the top-20 today. There's a lot of great young talent coming into this series.

"The joke going around the garage is if you add up all our ages, that's how old Randy LaJoie is (LaJoie is actually 37). This is a special moment in my life so far. My mother and father were both nervous, waiting and watching. This is huge! But our work's just begun here -- we've got three more days to get ready for the race."

LaJoie, also quick with a barb, had a ready comeback for young Petty.

"I'm glad these young guys with talent are coming into the series," he said of the 'changing of the guard' and whether it posed a threat to the veterans. "We've got to race with some guys who I wouldn't let valet park my car. I'm all for every one of these guys with talent we can get in the series."

Ken Schrader admitted to a little white lie during his Bud Pole effort.

"It was 260 (degrees) when I crossed the line," he said of his Oakwood Homes Chevrolet's water temperature. "Then I was aggravated 'cause I threw the first lap away. I thought maybe I should have run the first lap -- I was 220 (degrees) pointing into three -- finishing the first lap -- and I thought I should have run the first lap in case I had to abort the second lap. But then I thought I'd just lie about how hot it was."

In a scene seen fairly often during the winter testing schedule but rarely during Speedweeks, a turtle momentarily interrupted Bud Pole Qualifying when it moved from near Lake Lloyd onto the 3,000-foot backstretch as Morgan Shepherd completed his run in the No. 07 High Tech Trailers Chevrolet. The reptile was recovered and the session continued.

First Sierra Financial, Inc., a publicly traded, (NASDAQ: FSFH), full service national equipment leasing company based in Houston, Texas, announced Tuesday it has increased its involvement in NASCAR racing and will be an associate sponsor with all three Brewco Motorsports Inc. NASCAR Busch Series teams in 1999.

Brewco Motorsports, based in Central City, Ky., transformed in the off-season from an organization that fielded one NASCAR Busch Series and one NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team in 1998 to one with three NASCAR Busch Series teams in 1999.

The Brewco Motorsports racing stable consists of the No. 27 Castrol GTX Chevrolet Monte Carlo with driver Casey Atwood, the No. 37 Timber Wolf Chevrolet Monte Carlo with driver Kevin Grubb and the No. 99 Red Man Chevrolet Monte Carlo with driver Kevin Lepage. Lepage's car is run in conjunction with J&J Racing.

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday is on the fence about making his first Daytona start -- as he was 36th-quickest in Bud Pole Qualifying. Only 36 cars make it into the field on speed, and Hornaday's Dale Earnhardt Inc. team has no provisionals for him to fall back on.

The NAPA Auto Parts 300 will mark another first for Hornaday. It will be the first time he and new crew chief Sandy Jones will work together in a race. Jones joined the DEI team in December and will head the crew of the No. 31 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet.

"Hopefully we will get this Busch car in the show for Hornaday," Jones said. "By running at Daytona it will give us a jump on the 1999 truck series season. It gives us a race to work together before we start our defense of the truck series title."

The No. 31 Chevrolet Hornaday is running in Daytona served as Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s back-up superspeedway car in 1998. The car last competed at Talladega in 1997 with Steve Park behind the wheel. Park finished second to Mark Martin in that race.

NAPA will welcome over 1,100 members of the NAPA family to the NAPA Auto Parts 300. One of those guests will be Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre. He will be the grand marshal for Saturday's event, as well as serving as an honorary official for the Daytona 500 on Sunday.

Source: NASCAR Online

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Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Derrike Cope , Matt Kenseth , Adam Petty , Todd Bodine , Steve Park , Geoffrey Bodine , Ken Schrader , Kevin Lepage , Bobby Hamilton Jr. , Casey Atwood , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Mike McLaughlin , Lyndon Amick , Blaise Alexander , Kevin Grubb , John Dean , Morgan Shepherd , Dave Blaney , Mark Martin