Daytona 500 qualifying and GDS race report

Jeff Green cashes in on Daytona 500 pole. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 10, 2003) -- Jeff Green stole the show from Dale Earnhardt Jr. during Monday's Bud Pole Qualifying for the Daytona 500 as he captured the pole position for the Feb. 16 "Great...

Jeff Green cashes in on Daytona 500 pole.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 10, 2003) -- Jeff Green stole the show from Dale Earnhardt Jr. during Monday's Bud Pole Qualifying for the Daytona 500 as he captured the pole position for the Feb. 16 "Great American Race."

Green, driver of the No. 30 AOL Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, turned a fast lap of 186.606 mph to earn the pole for the Daytona 500. It's his second career Bud Pole and he qualifies for the 2004 Budweiser Shootout.

He'll also start on the pole for his Gatorade 125-mile qualifier on Feb. 13, but his position in the Daytona 500 is secured.

Just before Green blistered his lap, Earnhardt Jr. posted the fastest speed of the session with a lap of 186.382 mph. But while giving his interviews, Green stole his thunder with the pole winning speed.

Green, the 2000 NASCAR Busch Series champion, says winning the pole for the Daytona 500 tops them all.

"The championship in the Busch Series is definitely a great accomplishment for me as a race driver for me in my career," Green said. "But, to come to the hub of racing at Daytona the first race of the year and we're the class of the field - that's saying a lot in this sport."

Earnhardt Jr., who won the inaugural nighttime Budweiser Shootout earlier in the weekend, wasn't too disappointed about putting his No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet on the outside pole.

"I am satisfied," Earnhardt Jr. said. "We have never really qualified better than 15th here on qualifying day, so for me, it was a fantastic lap. I didn't expect to beat Michael (Waltrip), much less by that margin. It was kind of bittersweet to lose the pole, but in a way, we have so much to be proud of because we've improved so much.

"We've got a lock in position for the start of the race and our teammate Michael is in (my) 125. So at this point, for me, I think he's my toughest competition. It's going to be fun to race in the 125 with him."

As a whole, Richard Childress Racing had a solid day with its other team cars as Robby Gordon qualified third and Kevin Harvick qualified sixth.

"The body shop and the motor shop - it's really a credit to the whole organization," Harvick said. "We're always good when we come to the speedways. Hopefully that is a sign of things to come for this weekend."

Jamie McMurray was the top Raybestos Rookie of the Year qualifier with his 11th-place qualifying effort in the No. 42 Havoline Dodge. McMurray was concerned about qualifying for the Daytona 500 because he didn't have any provisionals to fall back on.

"I think the fact that we didn't have any points going into this race gave me a little concern if we got caught up in a wreck in the one of the Gatorade 125 races that we might go home," McMurray said. "I feel like now if we don't finish well in one of the races that we can go back on our time."

Other notable qualifiers included Michael Waltrip (fourth), Ricky Rudd (fifth) and Kyle Petty (10th).

Tony Stewart, the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion, never was able to post a speed as he experienced engine problems on his No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet.

"I don't know what happened to us," Stewart said. "If that's the worst thing that happens to us, we'll be all right this year. It's not the way we wanted to start off Speedweeks. Last year we started off Speedweeks great and finished up bad, so maybe we're starting off bad and we're going to finish up good."

NASCAR Goody's Dash Series 150: Robert Huffman pulled off his third straight NASCAR Goody's Dash Series victory at Daytona International Speedway capturing Monday's rain-shortened NASCAR Goody's Dash Series 150.

Huffman, behind the wheel of the No. 37 White House Apple Juice Toyota, held off runner-up Dusty Williams and third-place finisher Jake Hobgood when the red flag waved with 44 of the 60 laps completed. Shortly after, Huffman was declared the winner.

Huffman has now won three straight and four of the last five NASCAR Goody's Dash Series races at Daytona.

"I tell you, it is nice to win here no matter how many times," Huffman said.

Tickets for Speedweeks 2003 events are available online at or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.


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Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Kyle Petty , Kevin Harvick , Jeff Green , Robby Gordon , Jamie McMurray , Robert Huffman
Teams Williams , Richard Childress Racing