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Talladega Qualifying Story

Bobby Labonte Grabs Pole for Sunday's DieHard 500 TALLADEGA, Ala. -- In a duplication of Daytona 500 qualifying back in February, Bobby Labonte held off Dale Earnhardt and his older brother Terry to lead 53 cars in Bud Pole Award ...

Talladega Qualifying Story

Bobby Labonte Grabs Pole for Sunday's DieHard 500

TALLADEGA, Ala. -- In a duplication of Daytona 500 qualifying back in February, Bobby Labonte held off Dale Earnhardt and his older brother Terry to lead 53 cars in Bud Pole Award Qualifying Friday at Talladega Superspeedway in preparation for Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup Series DieHard 500.

The younger Labonte, who captured his second Bud Pole Award of the season and the 12th of his career, toured the 2.66-mile high-banked facility in 48.925 seconds, for an average speed of 195.728 mph. The top 25 positions were secured in Friday's first-round qualifying with the rest of the starting order to be determined in Bud Beer Second-Round Qualifying today (Saturday) at 10:45 a.m.

"We knew Dale had gone out early and ran a good lap, but we knew we would run good to," said Labonte. "This car was so good right off the truck, after five or six laps of practice, we knew we were in pretty good shape. It really made my job easy, I just had to make sure I did everything right and fortunately we'll be starting from the pole on Sunday."

Earnhardt, who went on to win the season-opening Daytona 500, secured the second starting position for Sunday's 500-mile race after posting his quick lap early on in the qualifying order. Earnhardt, who was the fifth driver to attempt a qualifying run, turned in lap of 49.059 seconds, for an average speed of 195.194 mph.

"That lap even impressed me," said the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Earnhardt. "It was a total team effort. I'm real proud of my team and we'll be ready on Sunday."

Terry Labonte, who won the last race held at Talladega Superspeedway last October, just missed placing his No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet on the front row by turning in a lap of 49.246 seconds, for an average speed of 194.45 mph. Rounding out the top five were Ken Schrader (194.401 mph) and Morgan Shepherd (193.068 mph).

NASCAR Winston Cup points leader Rusty Wallace qualified 23rd with two-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon securing the sixth starting position.

The best of the NASCAR Busch Series takes the green flag today (Saturday) at Noon for the Touchstone Energy 300. General admission grandstand tickets for today's Touchstone Energy 300 will be available at the gate. While reserved-seat tickets for the DieHard 500 are sold, plenty of infield tickets will still be available at the gate on Sunday. For ticket information call (205) 362-9064.

Source: DIS

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