Qualifying: Blaney scores shock pole

Dave Blaney put NASCAR's superstars in the shade at a rainy Rockingham on Friday evening, as he topped a rain-delayed qualifying session

Qualifying: Blaney scores shock pole

Blaney, only 13th in practice, shot to the pole with a lap in 22.884sec (154.683mph), ahead of Johnny Benson on 22.904s. That put the two soft-spoken Midwesterners on the front row for Sunday's 400-miles race and gave Blaney, former World of Outlaws champion, his first Winston Cup pole in 113 tries.

The Chevrolet teams, which had expected to do well here, showed poorly in qualifying, with Bobby Labonte the best in 10th place. However, the overall confusion of the day likely masked what the cars can do Sunday.

"I was very, very happy with it," said Blaney of his Ford. "And it was more of a bonus that it qualified well. Right now, I know it will race well Sunday, regardless of what happens tomorrow, so we're thrilled."

Blaney's best career start was third at Atlanta in 2001, and his best finish was sixth at Texas in 2001.

"Anywhere would be fine for me to get that first [win] and get over the hump," he said. "Man, that's a huge hump to get over, but I think once you do it comes so much easier. I know I've been through that in different forms of racing. I don't know what it is, but it's in your head, and you just can't get over it until you win one."

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