Skinner sets record pace

Mike Skinner took his first pole of the season in qualifying for the NASCAR Winston Cup event at the California Speedway last night

Skinner sets record pace

Skinner's 38.697s lap broke the track record with an average speed of 186.061mph around the 2.5-mile oval.

The Richard Childress Racing driver admitted that his lap was far from perfect.

'I really got through turns one and two awfully good, but I got a little high coming off the corner,' he admitted.

'We really got off to a slow start (this year.) We've had a couple of opportunities to win races and we've had mechanical failures that are pretty rare at Richard Childress Racing.

'Hopefully that's behind us now and we can get into the top ten in points and maybe we can win a race.'

Jimmy Spencer, Ricky Rudd, Ward Burton and Mark Martin complete the top five.

Again several big names were unable to make the top 25 and will have to fight for a place on the starting line-up in Saturday's second round qualifying session.

Jeff Gordon missed out by just 0.006s as he went 26th quickest. Ex-CART star Robby Gordon was only 29th, last year's top rookie Tony Stewart was 31st, just ahead of Dale Jarrett while legend Dale Earnhardt could only manage 36th quickest.

Guaranteed starting positions after first-round qualifying:

1 M Skinner Chevrolet 38.697s
2 J Spencer Ford 38.714s
3 R Rudd Ford 38.745s
4 W Burton Pontiac 38.779s
5 M Martin Ford 38.817s
6 S Pruett Ford 38.876s
7 D Waltrip Ford 38.916s
8 S Compton Ford 38.943s
9 S Park Chevrolet 38.978s
10 J Andretti Pontiac 38.987s
11 R Wallace Ford 39.003s
12 B Hamilton Chevrolet 39.003s
13 J Burton Ford 39.019s
14 J Benson Pontiac 39.033s
15 R Mast Pontiac 39.048s
16 R Pressley Ford 39.067s
17 D Blaney Pontiac 39.085s
18 K Schrader Pontiac 39.119s
19 E Sadler Ford 39.128s
20 D Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 39.137s
21 M Waltrip Chevrolet 39.137s
22 W Dallenbach Ford 39.142s
23 M Kenseth Ford 39.180s
24 J Mayfield Ford 39.234s
25 J Nadeau Chevrolet 39.263s

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