Rusty takes pole number six

Rusty Wallace took his sixth Bud Pole of the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup season, and his fourth in the last six races, for Sunday's Save Mart/Kragen 350 on the Sears Point road circuit.

Rusty takes pole number six

The Missouri native posted a time of 1m10.652s around the 1.949-mile track set in the heart of California's Sonoma wine-making region, shattering Jeff Gordon's lap record.

But although Wallace's Penske South Ford Taurus has been the car to beat in qualifying this season, he has only won once and many are tipping Jeff Gordon to kick start his lacklustre season with a win this weekend. Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo has won only once this season, but with Gordon winning the last five consecutive road races on the Cup schedule, statistics and momentum are on his side. Gordon qualified fifth, with a time of 1m11.207s.

The biggest surprise of qualifying was Kyle Petty. His Hot Wheels Pontiac held pole until Wallace, qualifying 39th out of 46 cars at Sears Point, snatched the place. Joe Gibbs team mates Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart line up third and fourth in their Pontiacs, with acknowledged road course-hater Sterling Marlin a shock sixth.

The Winston Cup only visits two road courses during its mammoth slog around the USA and while many oval experts are now begrudgingly putting extra effort into 'turning right', Gordon, Wallace, Mark Martin, Ricky Rudd and Dale Earnhardt are the only true road course experts from the 'old school'. But with an influx of seasoned road racers enjoying Winston Cup success, expect Stewart, Scott Pruett and Robby Gordon all to feature too.


R Wallace Ford 1m10.652s (99.309mph)
K Petty Pontiac 1m11.132s
B Labonte Pontiac 1m11.146s
T Stewart Pontiac 1m11.201s
J Gordon Chevrolet 1m11.207s
S Marlin Chevrolet 1m11.236s
M Martin Ford 1m11.257s
B Elliott Ford 1m11.307
S Pruett Ford 1m11.361s
R Rudd Ford 1m11.425s

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