Labonte wins NASCAR pole with track record at Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS (Ticker) - Bobby Labonte answered a lengthy rainstorm with a very brief lap.
After a five-hour rain delay, Labonte set a track record Friday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and claimed the pole for Sunday's NASCAR UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400.
Labonte, the 40th car to qualify, took advantage of cool track conditions and a chilly evening to push his Chevrolet Monte Carlo around the the 1 1/2-mile banked speedway at 173.016 miles per hour, besting Todd Bodine's year-old mark.
"The car was very good, it was two good laps for us," Labonte said. "The car was good right off the truck. We just had a great day and a good little race car."
Fellow Chevrolet driver Jeff Gordon placed second, while Ryan Newman will start third in a Dodge Intrepid.
Gordon, the third driver to make his run following the unusual start of 7 p.m. local time, also was pleased.
"That was a great effort for us, a little disappointing, but heck, I'm just glad to be up front. Bobby put a heck of a lap together," said Gordon, who won this event in 2001.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was fourth in a Chevy, followed by Las Vegas native Kurt Busch in a Ford.
"The pressure is on, I thought we could get the pole for the fans, but we came up just a little shy," Busch said. "The nice thing is that this gives us a good starting position up front."
Rain has seemingly followed NASCAR this year. After a rain-shortened Daytona 500 opened the season three weeks ago, all but one practice session was rained out last week in Rockingham.