Qualifying: Elliott earns pole

Bill Elliott claimed pole for the Winston all-star race on Friday evening, his fifth pole for NASCAR's annual all-star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte

Qualifying: Elliott earns pole

The Evernham Dodge driver conquered the unique qualifying format of the event, which recorded the total time taken for drivers to complete three laps and a mandatory four-tyre pit-stop. Eliott and crew accomplished the feat in 2m03.764s, over half a second quicker than the second place driver, Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart.

"It all came together tonight," said Eliott. "Some nights everything goes your way, and some nights it don't. Tonight, everything went our way. We treated it like it was just another Saturday night under the lights. Ray [Evernham, team boss] has done a great job with this team, and we'll get ready and see if we can win that million dollars tomorrow night."

Kevin Harvick set the third fastest time, ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr and Sterling Marlin. Last year's winner, Ryan Newman, qualified 12th.

There were several incidents on pit road that hurt a number of drivers. Rusty Wallace set the fastest time of the night, but a 5s penalty for a loose lug nut dropped him to 18th on the grid. Bobby Labonte and Dale Jarrett were both given 20s penalties for loose wheels, and will start from 21st and 22nd respectively. Rookie Jamie McMurray failed to get off pit road due to mechanical problems and will start 23rd.

The 24th and final starting slot is reserved for the winner of the Winston Open, a qualifying race for all drivers not otherwise eligible for the Winston. Steve Park, who has recently hit the headlines after being sacked by Dale Earnhardt Inc and then quickly hired by Richard Childress Racing, claimed pole for the event, ahead of Todd Bodine and Jimmy Spencer.

Bill Eliott Dodge 2m03.192s
Tony Stewart Chevrolet 2m03.764s
Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 2m04.825s
Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 2m05.014s
Sterling Marlin Dodge 2m05.038s
Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 2m05.047s
Rick Craven Pontiac 2m05.049s
Terry Labonte Chevrolet 2m05.103s
Michael Waltrip Chevrolet 2m05.105s
Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 2m05.358s

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