Bristol qualifying: Eighth pole for Wallace

Rusty Wallace took his eighth Bud Pole of the season on Bristol Motor Speedway's 0.533-mile concrete 'bullring'

Bristol qualifying: Eighth pole for Wallace

Wallace lapped the Tennessee track in 15.292s, at an average speed of 125.477mph. Next up was Jeff Gordon, who missed out by just 0.001s, with Watkins Glen winner Steve Park, Mike Skinner and Jerry Nadeau completing the top five for tonight's (Saturday's) 500-lap race under the lights.

Bud Pole winners automatically qualify for the big money Bud Shoot-out at Daytona next February, and Wallace's virtual shut-out of the top spot this season means he probably won't have too many other drivers to race against in Florida...

Luck played its part in this one, with Wallace's Miller Lite Ford breaking a throttle stop exiting turn four on its first flying lap.

"I jumped off the throttle, because I thought it stuck or broke," he recounted. "When that happened, I coasted across the line and said, 'Man, I can't believe I just did this,' because it felt so good through the corners."

Should Wallace win the race, he will be the first driver to win both Bristol races in one season since Dale Earnhardt in 1987. Wallace's win at Bristol in March was the first of three he has so far bagged in 2000.

With only 21 cars pitting on the favoured frontstretch, qualifying takes on extra significance at Bristol. Dale Earnhardt, third in the points, took 17th, but the top two in the points - Bobby Labonte and Dale Jarrett - could manage only 32nd and 31st respectively. Only 25 spots are set in stone after first round qualifying, so Labonte and Jarrett will be forced to qualify again only hours before the race.

Terry Labonte returned to the wheel of the number five Kellogg's Chevrolet after a concussion ended his record-breaking streak of consecutive starts. The two-time Winston Cup champion qualified 23rd fastest, three places ahead of David Green. Green is subbing for another former champion, Bill Elliott, who broke his kneecap in a domestic accident, but with Green's 26th slot the first of the non-qualifiers, the former Busch Series champion will have to try again in this afternoon's second round.


1 R Wallace Ford, 15.292s, 125.477mph
2 J Gordon Chevrolet, 15.293s
3 S Park Chevrolet, 15.298s
4 M Skinner Chevrolet, 15.329s
5 J Nadeau Chevrolet, 15.337s
6 T Stewart Pontiac, 15.359s
7 M Martin Ford, 15.367s
8 S Marlin Chevrolet, 15.375s
9 R Pressley Ford, 15.387s
10 K Lepage Ford, 15.420s

Selected others
17 D Earnhardt Chevrolet, 15.440s
31 D Jarrett Ford, 15.531s
32 B Labonte Pontiac, 15.535s

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Bristol: full first round qualifying results
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