KURT BUSCH/#2 Miller Lite Dodge has the pole for Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup Dodge/Save Mart 350 race at Infineon Raceway with a lap of 76.987/93.055 mph. This is his fifth pole in 200 Cup races. The Qualifying Track Record is still held by JEFF GORDON/#24 Dupont, whose 2005 lap was 75.950/94.325 mph. Gordon qualified eleventh.
Busch was complimentary of his crew chief and team for getting the setups right for the ever changing track conditions. "There's a little bit of Rusty in this car, but there's a whole lot of ROY McCAULEY (referring to his Crew Chief, in his first year as a Cup Chief). If I can drive half the candle that Rusty held, we'll be all right."
Busch said he liked the ringers, (which he called hired guns,) "coming over to our series and what's really scary these guys continue to develop and get better.
Busch admitted that a recent article in GQ, stating he was one of top ten most hated athletes, wasn't the reason but was a catalyst in his moving forward with image-building efforts such as lots of public appearances and starting his charitable foundation. Busch presents differently these days, with his starched white shirts, and his clean-cut appearance.
JAMIE McMURRAY/#26 Crown Royal Ford was second fastest, followed by KEVIN HARVICK/#29 GM Goodwrench Dodge.
RYAN NEWMAN/#12 Alltel Dodge was fourth fastest.
The top Road Racing Ringer was BORIS SAID/#60 Sobe-No Fear Ford in fifth place. He was pretty happy and put in a good word for his energy drink sponsor, saying "We're going to clip the wings off that bull" referring to a rival energy drink.
The welcome breeze cooled the weather down to a tolerable 87 degrees F, with a track temperature of 122 degrees F.
There were mixed results for the other Ringers. P.J. JONES/#4 AERO Exhaust Chevrolet was fifteenth fastest. RON FELLOWS/#32 Tide Chevrolet was seventeenth.
SCOTT PRUETT/#40 Coors Light Dodge will start twenty-seventh, perhaps not as well as he expected. More bad news for him - the top three Rolex Series Daytona Prototypes were disqualified at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for failing post-qualifying technical inspection. This means Pruett and co-driver LUIS DIAZ/#1 CompUSA Lexus Riley will start at the back instead of on the front row. All three cars were Riley chassis and disqualified for being one mm too wide - the width of three sheets of paper. PATRICK LONG/#23 Alex Job Racing Crawford Porsche DP will start on pole, with ALEX GURNEY/#99 GAINSCO Riley Pontiac will be with him on the front row. Former Pole Sitter, teenaged COLIN BRAUN/#76 Krohn Racing Ford Riley said "It will make for a fun race."
TOM HUBERT/#27 Chevrolet was thirtieth, followed by DAVID GILLILAND/#72 Dutch Quality Stone Dodge qualified thirty-first, good enough for him to make the field. Gilliland, who has won races in the NASCAR Winston West Series and won the 2005 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway, has DOUG GEORGE as his crew chief. George was the 1995 Winston West Champion and 1990 NASCAR Southwest Tour champion.
TERRY LABONTE/#96 DLP Chevrolet was thirty-eighth.
Those not making the cut included JOHNNY MILLER/#34 Oak Gloves Chevrolet; CHRIS COOK/#49 DSI Dodge; TRAVIS KVAPIL/#78 Furniture; STANTON BARRETT/#95 Interush Chevrolet; and BRIAN SIMO/#61 Sobe-No Fear Chevrolet.
Saturday there will be two more Nextel Cup practices. The West Series will race, as will the two SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge classes.