Earnhardt Jr smashes track record

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., the first rookie contender to ever win The Winston, snagged his first career Bud Pole Award on Wednesday evening at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In the process, he smashed the track qualifying record set by Ward Burton on October 5, 1994 of 185.759 mph (29.070 seconds) by touring the 1.5-mile circuit in 29.027 seconds, at an average speed of 186.034 mph

Earnhardt Jr smashes track record

Once again, the crowd was standing and amidst loud cheers, Junior was in the spotlight for the second time in as many weeks. Following Earnhardt, and rounding out the top-5 for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 will be Jerry Nadeau (185.122 mph), Bill Elliot (184.894 mph), Jeremy Mayfield (184.748 mph), and Mike Skinner (184.483 mph).

"This is the car I won Texas with," said a beaming young Earnhardt. "I ran a couple of laps in practice earlier in the day and the car was awesome.

"The car we won with last week, we ran at Atlanta. We told some people we had a better car at home, and they didn't believe us."

Drawing a spot that put him on the track 46th out of the 48 drivers attempting to make the top-25 in first-round qualifying was definitely a plus.

"The late draw really helped us," Earnhardt said. "I was a little concerned about track conditions, but I saw Mayfield and a couple of those other guys run and it gave me confidence."

Nadeau, who will start outside the front row, was the provisional polewinner throughout much of Wednesday evening's qualifying. He was also hoping for his first series career pole.

"Charlotte is a fun race track. I enjoy this place a lot," said Nadeau. "I knew he (Earnhardt, Jr.) could do it, even though he said he messed up. Obviously, they have everything going right, so it's not bad to end up second as good as he's been running the past two weeks."

Ironically, Jeff Gordon's turn came up just after Hendrick Motorsports team-mate Terry Labonte's car left oil on the track. Labonte is shown in the 48th position, while Gordon did manage to post 14th fastest.

"Whether it's slick or not out there, it looks slick," Gordon said. "It looks like oil is on the track, and if you hesitate once, that's all it takes."

In addition to Terry Labonte, Jeff Burton, Geoffrey Bodine, Ward Burton, Johnny Benson, Kenny Schrader, Elliott Sadler and Darrell Waltrip will have to decide whether to make a second attempt during Thursday's second-round qualifying schedule to begin at 6:00pm EDT.

Rounding out the top-10 will be Kevin Lepage (who turned an identical lap time to Skinner), Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Tony Stewart and Kenny Wallace.

Brett Bodine snagged the 25th qualifying spot by just .03 second over Scott Pruett.

Coca-Cola 600 Qualifying Results
Lowe's Motor Speedway
May 24, 2000
Pos No Driver Make Time Speed -Time -Speed

1 8 D. Earnhardt Jr Chev 29.027 186.034
2 25 Jerry Nadeau Chev 29.170 185.122 -0.143 -0.912
3 94 Bill Elliott Ford 29.206 184.894 -0.179 -1.140
4 12 Jeremy Mayfield Ford 29.229 184.748 -0.202 -1.286
5 31 Mike Skinner Chev 29.271 184.483 -0.244 -1.551
6 16 Kevin Lepage Ford 29.271 184.483 -0.244 -1.551
7 18 Bobby Labonte Pont 29.316 184.200 -0.289 -1.834
8 88 Dale Jarrett Ford 29.321 184.168 -0.294 -1.865
9 20 Tony Stewart Pont 29.387 183.755 -0.360 -2.279
10 55 Kenny Wallace Chev 29.412 183.599 -0.385 -2.435
11 26 Jimmy Spencer Ford 29.426 183.511 -0.399 -2.523
12 7 Michael Waltrip Chev 29.431 183.480 -0.404 -2.554
13 4 Bobby Hamilton Chev 29.444 183.399 -0.417 -2.635
14 24 Jeff Gordon Chev 29.448 183.374 -0.421 -2.660
15 3 Dale Earnhardt Chev 29.456 183.324 -0.429 -2.709
16 2 Rusty Wallace Ford 29.485 183.144 -0.458 -2.890
17 43 John Andretti Pont 29.487 183.132 -0.460 -2.902
18 1 Steve Park Chev 29.508 183.001 -0.481 -3.032
19 6 Mark Martin Ford 29.510 182.989 -0.483 -3.045
20 28 Ricky Rudd Ford 29.519 182.933 -0.492 -3.101
21 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 29.533 182.846 -0.506 -3.187
22 50 Ricky Craven Chev 29.540 182.803 -0.513 -3.231
23 14 Rick Mast Pont 29.541 182.797 -0.514 -3.237
24 77 Robert Pressley Ford 29.584 182.531 -0.557 -3.503
25 11 Brett Bodine Ford 29.584 182.531 -0.557 -3.503

DID NOT QUALIFY:
26 32 Scott Pruett Ford 29.589 182.500 -0.562 -3.533
27 42 Joe Nemechek Chev 29.593 182.476 -0.566 -3.558
28 99 Jeff Burton Ford 29.622 182.297 -0.595 -3.737
29 60 Geoffrey Bodine Chev 29.650 182.125 -0.623 -3.909
30 93 Dave Blaney Pont 29.654 182.100 -0.627 -3.933
31 22 Ward Burton Pont 29.675 181.971 -0.648 -4.062
32 75 W. Dallenbach Ford 29.704 181.794 -0.677 -4.240
33 42 Kenny Irwin Chev 29.747 181.531 -0.720 -4.503
34 36 Ken Schrader Pont 29.784 181.305 -0.757 -4.728
35 85 Carl Long Ford 29.786 181.293 -0.759 -4.740
36 40 Sterling Marlin Chev 29.827 181.044 -0.800 -4.990
37 97 Chad Little Ford 29.874 180.759 -0.847 -5.275
38 15 Ted Musgrave Ford 29.922 180.469 -0.895 -5.564
39 10 Johnny Benson Pont 29.930 180.421 -0.903 -5.613
40 13 Robby Gordon Ford 29.953 180.282 -0.926 -5.751
41 44 Steve Grissom Pont 29.990 180.060 -0.963 -5.974
42 90 Ed Berrier Ford 30.062 179.629 -1.035 -6.405
43 9 Stacy Compton Ford 30.230 178.630 -1.203 -7.403
44 21 Elliott Sadler Ford 30.247 178.530 -1.220 -7.504
45 71 Dave Marcis Chev 30.274 178.371 -1.247 -7.663
46 27 Mike Bliss Pont 30.316 178.124 -1.289 -7.910
47 66 Darrell Waltrip Ford 30.326 178.065 -1.299 -7.969
48 5 Terry Labonte Chev 30.751 175.604 -1.724 -10.430


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