Earnhardt Jr. stays hot -- wins Bud Pole SOUTH BOSTON, Va. (July 25, 1998) Whew! Dale Earnhardt Jr. is as hot as a mid-summer afternoon. And then some. Earnhardt Jr., who already has four victories in his first full season in the NASCAR...
Earnhardt Jr. stays hot -- wins Bud Pole
SOUTH BOSTON, Va. (July 25, 1998) Whew! Dale Earnhardt Jr. is as hot as a mid-summer afternoon. And then some.
Earnhardt Jr., who already has four victories in his first full season in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division, secured his third Bud Pole of the season, blowing away the competition on Saturday afternoon to earn the top spot for Saturday night's LYCOS.com 300 at South Boston Speedway.
The leader in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings going into Saturday night's race, Earnhardt Jr. turned a fast lap of 94.457 mph in his No. 3 AC/Delco Chevrolet, better than half-a-mile an hour better than Wayne Grubb's speed of 93.909 mph.
It was Earnhardt Jr.'s first Bud Pole since New Hampshire in early May. However, he had won two of the last three NASCAR Busch Series races coming into Saturday night's event, including at California last weekend.
Just as long as when the weather cools down, we don't, everything will be fine," Earnhardt Jr. said.
Earnhardt Jr. said he hasn't been pleased with the team's short-track performance this season. At Hickory Motor Speedway back in April, he finished eighth in the Galaxy Foods 300.
At Myrtle Beach in the Myrtle Beach 250 two weeks ago, he finished fifth, but felt he could have done better.
"We've been trying to work hard on our short-track program and trying to improve our stuff," Earnhardt Jr. said. "Hickory and Myrtle Beach are probably the two worse cars that we've run this year. We had to settle for some mediocre runs there. We've gone to Lanier (Speedway in Georgia) this past week testing and we tested here earlier this year. We got a lot of laps trying new stuff, different stuff trying to help the car."
Obviously it helped during qualifying on Saturday afternoon.
"He's good, he's a natural," Todd Bodine said. "There are such things in this world as naturals, and Dale Jr. is one of them. But he can't do it without a good crew and a good car, and he knows that and he appreciates the people that work for him. That's great to see in a young kid coming up.
"He's not getting a big head. He's keeping his head on his shoulders, and he knows where he's coming from. He's worked on these cars, he's helped build them, and he understands how hard it is and how hard those guys work. I'm almost as proud of him as his father is. I've always talked with him and had a good relationship, he's a great kid and I'm really happy for him."
Bodine, who took over the No. 30 Slim Jim Chevrolet ride just last week, gave the team its best starting position of the season, qualifying third with a fast lap of 93.891 mph.
"It's great for the crew," Bodine said. "It's been tough on them this year. Slim Jim has been so good to our sport, and it's good to have them up front. We came on board to get the car running well and up front., and we're on our way to doing that."
Tim Fedewa, in the No. 33 Kleenex Chevrolet, qualified fourth (93.848 mph), followed by Randy LaJoie (93.836), Kevin Grubb (93.646), Jeff Purvis (93.592), Joe Bessey (93.537), David Green (93.434) and Shane Hall (93.434).
The top 26 drivers qualified on time, and their were seven provisionals. Phil Parsons, Mike Dillon, Jason Keller, J.D. Gibbs, Kevin Lepage, Tracy Leslie and Andy Santerre were all awarded provisionals.
Jim Bown, Casey Atwood, Mark Krogh, Tony Robertson, Kevin Prince, Ashton Lewis, Jeff Krogh, Patty Moise, Kelly Denton and Johnny Chapman did not make the show.
Source: NASCAR Online