Park takes Homestead pole

Steve Park was the last driver to take a qualifying run in Bud Pole qualifying for the Pennzoil 400 at Miami's Homestead track, and not only bumped Ricky Rudd to the outside of the front row, but broke the track qualifying record.

Park takes Homestead pole

Series leader Bobby Labonte will line up third, needing only a fifth place finish to clinch the title. Closest challenger Dale Earnhardt was only 36th.

Park lapped the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway in 34.518 seconds at an average speed 156.440mph, besting David Green's 34.669s (155.759mph) effort in the inaugural appearance of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series last November.

Park now has two career Bud Poles to his credit, both coming in this 2000 season. His first pole came at Bristol Motor Speedway in the spring. Today's effort give Park 12 top 10 starts this season, four in the last six events. Park qualified 22nd in the inaugural Homestead event and finished 19th.

Park said he told crew chief, Paul Andrews, that when he "got in the gas coming off Turn 2 and the car stuck, we had a good lap.

"Ricky Rudd really laid down a lap and gave us something to shoot for. We shot for it . and it worked out."

Rudd's 156.408 mph effort bumped current series points leader Bobby Labonte off the point. Rudd held the top spot while 37 other drivers made their attempt, and it was the last driver out - Park - who will be first on raceday.

Said Rudd: "This car has been fast since we've been here. This is the car we thought we destroyed at Phoenix last week. The shop jumped in there and worked around the clock and, as always, put a great car under me and with that Yates horsepower, what can you say?

"At Homestead it's kind of hard to tell if it's a good lap or a bad lap until you're finished and you look at the speed. Based on that it's either good or bad, but it wasn't like a real wild ride or anything."

Last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, Rudd appeared to be on his way to his first win since 'Agony and Ecstasy" at Martinsville Speedway in September, 1998. With under 20 laps to go in the race, Rick Mast had a tyre let go and Mike Bliss couldn't avoid the rear end of Mast's Pontiac. Bliss' car glanced off Mast, and Rudd smashed into Bliss, ending his chance at victory.

Labonte will start third on Sunday and needs only a fifth-place finish to lock up the series title. Jimmy Spencer and Casey Atwood round out the top-five.

Darrell Waltrip and Mast were 24th and 25th fast, respectively. Some of the drivers who didn't make the first cut are Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt, Michael Waltrip and Ken Schrader.

Earnhardt, who is second in the championship points, and still has a mathematical shot at winning his eighth series championship, qualified 36th.

Qualifying sixth to tenth were Joe Nemechek, Dale Jarrett, Ward Burton, Brett Bodine and Kurt Busch.

Second round qualifying is scheduled for November 11 beginning at 10:30am ET.


ROW 1
1 1 Steve Park Chev 34.518 156.440
2 28 Ricky Rudd Ford 34.525 156.408
ROW 2
3 18 Bobby Labonte Pont 34.566 156.223
4 26 Jimmy Spencer Ford 34.573 156.191
ROW 3
5 19 Casey Atwood Ford 34.678 155.718
6 33 Joe Nemechek Chev 34.721 155.525
ROW 4
7 88 Dale Jarrett Ford 34.736 155.458
8 22 Ward Burton Pont 34.741 155.436
ROW 5
9 11 Brett Bodine Ford 34.753 155.382
10 97 Kurt Busch Ford 34.782 155.253
ROW 6
11 6 Mark Martin Ford 34.786 155.235
12 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr Chev 34.790 155.217
ROW 7
13 20 Tony Stewart Pont 34.793 155.204
14 10 Johnny Benson Pont 34.809 155.132
ROW 8
15 40 Sterling Marlin Chev 34.829 155.043
16 43 John Andretti Pont 34.836 155.012
ROW 9
17 2 Rusty Wallace Ford 34.840 154.994
18 31 Mike Skinner Chev 34.848 154.959
ROW 10
19 9 Stacy Compton Ford 34.872 154.852
20 93 Dave Blaney Pont 34.872 154.852
ROW 11
21 25 Jerry Nadeau Chev 34.893 154.759
22 12 Jeremy Mayfield Ford 34.908 154.692
ROW 12
23 94 Bill Elliott Ford 34.921 154.635
24 66 Darrell Waltrip Ford 34.921 154.635
ROW 13
25 14 Rick Mast Pont 34.948 154.515

DID NOT QUALIFY:
26 77 Robert Pressley Ford 34.955 154.484
27 21 Elliott Sadler Ford 35.003 154.272
28 24 Jeff Gordon Chev 35.019 154.202
29 57 Bobby Hamilton Jr Chev 35.056 154.039
30 99 Jeff Burton Ford 35.057 154.035
31 75 Wally Dallenbach Ford 35.062 154.013
32 16 Kevin Lepage Ford 35.063 154.008
33 32 Scott Pruett Ford 35.080 153.934
34 27 Mike Bliss Pont 35.094 153.872
35 98 Geoffrey Bodine Ford 35.098 153.855
36 3 Dale Earnhardt Chev 35.110 153.802
37 7 Michael Waltrip Chev 35.169 153.544
38 5 Terry Labonte Chev 35.224 153.305
39 01 Ted Musgrave Chev 35.235 153.257
40 96 Andy Houston Ford 35.255 153.170
41 36 Ken Schrader Pont 35.276 153.079
42 55 Kenny Wallace Chev 35.283 153.048
43 45 Kyle Petty Pont 35.283 153.048
44 60 Hermie Sadler Chev 35.334 152.827
45 4 Bobby Hamilton Chev 35.343 152.788
46 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 35.352 152.749
47 50 Ricky Craven Chev 35.482 152.190
48 71 Dave Marcis Chev 35.598 151.694
49 90 Hut Stricklin Ford 35.669 151.392
50 44 Steve Grissom Pont 35.730 151.134
51 84 Norm Benning Chev 37.261 144.924


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