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Earnhardt Jr. tops Busch for pole at Pocono

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by Frank Ryan
August 3, 2007

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Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Jim Garrahan

It took two tries, but Dale Earnhardt Jr finally prevailed and grabbed the Bud Pole at Pocono. Earnhardt Jr was on the track qualifying when rain wiped out his first qualifying attempt, after a 45 minute rain delay Earnhardt was first out and romped around a cool, fast track to a speed of 169.975 and his first Bud Pole of the year.

It’s Budweiser and Miller Lite for an all brew front row at Pocono.

“I beat the Miller car, that’s all that matters” quipped Earnhardt Jr. after seeing he knocked Busch off the pole.

It’s Earnhardt Jr’s seventh Bud Pole and first Bud Pole since Kansas in 2002, an amazing 171 races since he last sat on the pole. Ironically, Pocono also marks the return of crew chief Tony Eury, who was recently suspended for rules infractions by NASCAR.

“I tried to get them, but they are hard to get.”

Kurt Busch was quickest in practice in his Miller Lite Dodge and qualified second fastest with a speed of 169.863. Rounding out the top 5 were Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne.

Bud Pole qualifying started on time and Kurt Busch sat on the provisional pole until the rain came. Dale Earnhardt Jr was on the track in the middle of his qualifying effort when the rain started to fall. Earnhardt Jr pulled off the track midway through his qualifying lap, NASCAR agreed and threw the caution flag delaying qualifying until the rain was over.

Earnhardt Jr then spent the next 45 minutes signing autographs for fans on pit lane until the qualifying.

Earnhardt Jr was the first of 10 cars to qualify on a decidedly cooler and faster track. Earnhardt Jr took full advantage of the conditions and rocketed to his first Bud Pole of the year,

With only six races remaining before the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup which begins in New Hampshire, Earnhardt Jr currently sits in 12th place, currently just inside the bubble to make the Chase. Kurt Busch sits just outside the bubble in 13th place for the Chase, and just 13 points behind Dale Earnhardt Jr.


Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Doug Belliveau

With one win and six top 5 finishes, Kurt Busch has been one of the toughest drivers to beat at Pocono and will look to slip inside the bubble for the Chase.

A.J. Allmendinger and David Ragan both hit the wall during morning practice and were forced to qualify using their backup cars. Ragan made the race, but Allmendinger, Mike Bliss and Kenny Wallace all failed to qualify.

Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 marks the first race of the year that ESPN will provide the TV coverage.

Open wheel driver Bobby Santos III grabbed the pole for the ARCA RE/MAX Pennsylvania 200 in his Scuderia O2 Toyota as a development driver for Bill Davis Racing.

Results

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Budweiser 169.975 52.949 Leader
2 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 169.863 52.984 -0.035
3 5 Kyle Busch Chevrolet Kellogg's / CARQUEST 169.783 53.009 -0.060
4 12 Ryan Newman Dodge Mobil 1 169.738 53.023 -0.074
5 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Dodge Dealers / UAW 169.587 53.070 -0.121
6 11 Denny Hamlin Chevrolet FedEx Express 169.501 53.097 -0.148
7 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 169.322 53.153 -0.204
8 25 Casey Mears Chevrolet National Guard / GMAC 169.268 53.170 -0.221
9 42 Juan Montoya* Dodge Texaco / Havoline 168.916 53.281 -0.332
10 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target 168.643 53.367 -0.418
11 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 168.451 53.428 -0.479
12 16 Greg Biffle Ford "Dog the Bounty Hunter" / Dish Network 168.438 53.432 -0.483
13 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 168.300 53.476 -0.527
14 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Dodge Dealers / UAW 168.237 53.496 -0.547
15 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Camping World/ RVs.com 168.070 53.549 -0.600
16 10 Scott Riggs Dodge Valvoline / Stanley Tools 167.942 53.590 -0.641
17 96 Tony Raines Chevrolet DLP HDTV / "Rush Hour 3" 167.923 53.596 -0.647
18 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet AT&T Mobility 167.917 53.598 -0.649
19 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 167.863 53.615 -0.666
20 88 Ricky Rudd Ford Combos 167.788 53.639 -0.690
21 21 Bill Elliott Ford U.S. Air Force 167.785 53.640 -0.691
22 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 167.607 53.697 -0.748
23 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 167.417 53.758 -0.809
24 20 Tony Stewart Chevrolet The Home Depot 167.324 53.788 -0.839
25 01 Mark Martin Chevrolet U.S. Army 167.258 53.809 -0.860
26 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios / Betty Crocker 167.218 53.822 -0.873
27 18 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Interstate Batteries 167.156 53.842 -0.893
28 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 167.053 53.875 -0.926
29 99 Carl Edwards Ford Office Depot 167.035 53.881 -0.932
30 7 Robby Gordon Ford MAPEI / Menards 166.942 53.911 -0.962
31 00 David Reutimann* Toyota Burger King 166.722 53.982 -1.033
32 66 Jeff Green Chevrolet Haas Automation 166.688 53.993 -1.044
33 38 David Gilliland Ford M&M's 166.587 54.026 -1.077
34 40 David Stremme Dodge Target 166.257 54.133 -1.184
35 15 Paul Menard* Chevrolet Energizer / Menards 166.064 54.196 -1.247
36 6 David Ragan* Ford AAA 165.886 54.254 -1.305
37 17 Matt Kenseth Ford DEWALT 165.767 54.293 -1.344
38 4 Ward Burton Chevrolet Lucas Oil / State Water Heaters 165.596 54.349 -1.400
39 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 165.584 54.353 -1.404
40 44 Dale Jarrett Toyota UPS 165.578 54.355 -1.406
41 70 Johnny Sauter Chevrolet Haas Automation 165.560 54.361 -1.412
42 36 Jeremy Mayfield Toyota 360 OTC 165.542 54.367 -1.418
43 49 Mike Bliss Dodge Paralyzed Veterans of America 165.496 54.382 -1.433
Did not qualify
44 84 A.J. Allmendinger* Toyota Red Bull 164.681 54.651 -1.702
45 45 Kyle Petty Dodge Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil 164.558 54.692 -1.743
46 37 Kevin Lepage Dodge Front Row Motorsports / Detoxify Brand 163.690 54.982 -2.033
47 78 Kenny Wallace Chevrolet Furniture Row Racing 162.297 55.454 -2.505

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