Saturday, August 4, 2007

Busch Qualifies 2nd; Newman To Start 4th In Pennsylvania 500

LONG POND, Pa. (Aug. 3, 2007) For the second time this year, rain interfered with a Penske Racing driver emerging in the No. 1 position at Pocono Raceway, as Kurt Busch was bumped from the pole for Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 after a shower interrupted qualifying on Friday.

Busch, who snared the provisional pole in his Miller Lite Dodge Charger with a 52.984-second, 169.863-mph lap, possessed the top starting spot until there were nine drivers left to qualify. Rain began falling during Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s qualifying lap and NASCAR officials ruled he could make another timed run if time trials resumed. With a clean, cooler track, Earnhardt Jr. pushed his car to a lap 0.035-second faster than Busch on the 2.5-mile, triangular-shaped track.

"I thought there might be somebody that would sneak out there and get it," Busch said. "If it would have rained out qualifying, we would have been bumped all the way to 14th. To be outside pole is great and gives us the chance to be towards the front.

"Track position is very important at Pocono. We're happy to be outside pole and have a shot to get those elusive five points for leading a lap. Big picture is what we¿re racing for right now [a position in the title chase].

In June, Ryan Newman was relegated to a second-place finish in the Pocono 500 when it began raining just as Newman passsed Jeff Gordon for the lead.

For a brief time Friday, Busch and Newman shared the front row, but Busch's younger brother, Kyle, bumped Newman to third by 0.014 second. He was relegated to fourth, directly behind his Penske Racing teammate, when Earnhardt Jr. made his qualifying run.

"I just missed a little bit on my lap, but it was still a good effort by the Mobil 1 Dodge team and we'll have a good car on Sunday, as well, Newman said after his 53.023-second, 169.738-mph lap in his Mobil 1 Dodge Charger. We're running the same car that we had in June, so we know that this car is good at Pocono. I don't think we have a ton of work to do on the car before Sunday, but we¿ll tweak it a little during tomorrow's [Saturday] practice sessions and get it as close to perfect as we can for Sunday. I just hope the rain holds off this time.

Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 will be televised by ESPN and broadcast by MRN Radio starting at 1 p.m.

1 comment:

vroom said...

Penske is on their game...finally!