Defending Busch Grand National Champion Jeff Green scored his first career NASCAR Winston Cup Bud Pole Award on his sixth appearance of the year with Richard Childress Racing by setting fastest time in qualifying for Saturday night's Sharpie 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway.

Jeff Green became the 14th different driver to secure a ticket to next February's Bud Shootout at the Daytona International Speedway by taking pole position for the Sharpie 500 at the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday as Richard Childress Racing swept the front row of the grid and broke their 2001 duck in one fell swoop.

Defending Busch Grand National Champion Green, who will take over the driving duties in the No.30 America Online camp permanently next year, set a fastest lap of 15.515-seconds knocking RCR team-mate Mike Skinner from top spot in the process. Although he ran only 15th in line of total of 49 cars Green held off the challenges of Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd, Bobby Labonte and Mark Martin to name but a few as he claimed a first NWC pole for both himself and the No.30 team.

Completing Childress' afternoon of joy Skinner held on to second place on the grid despite being the very first car to make a qualifying attempt with a best time of 15.539-seconds on the first of his two qualifying laps and the former Craftsman Truck Series driver began his bid to land a top-line Winston Cup ride next year in fine style. Kevin Harvick made it three RCR cars in the top ten with eighth fastest time and then went on to win the supporting Busch Grand National event as the team look for a suitable relief following the official release of Dale Earnhardt's crash report.

The beauty of Bristol is that the driver can make a great deal of distance by hustling his car over the bumpy track surface and talent tends to rise to the top on this highly demanding race track. Ron Hornaday was a perfect example of this theory as he scored by far and away his best qualifying result of the year for AJ Foyt's team with third fastest time as was Elliott Sadler who won the spring race here and will start from the outside of the second row on Saturday night for the Wood Brothers team.

The opening laps at Bristol are always fraught as drivers jockey for track position and desperately try to avoid going a lap down whilst at the same time trying not to damage their race-cars in what is a very long, demanding race. This tension will rise even further with Ricky Rudd, Jeff Gordon and Dale Jarrett starting fifth, sixth and seventh respectively and there may be a firework or two as Yates team-mates Rudd and Jarrett attempt to gain some lost ground on Gordon in the title chase.

Adding to the mix in ninth spot on the grid is nine-time Bristol winner Rusty Wallace who ran directly behind Skinner in the qualifying order but could not make the track work quite as well for him while Todd Bodine made it two top ten starts at Bristol in 2001 with tenth fastest time.

Following their maiden win last week at Michigan, Dodge came down to earth with a bump, Ward Burton's Bill Davis Racing example being the best of the bunch in 14th place and only Sterling Marlin joining Burton on the front stretch pit in 17th place.

Nowhere is pit position more important than at Bristol with the top 21 qualifiers getting a pit-stall on the front stretch and positions 22-43 being assigned pit-stalls on the back straight. Drivers pitting on the back stretch are at a major disadvantage due to the increased amount of time following the safety car and although Sadler won from 38th here in the spring, winning from a back stretch pit-stall is very much a rarity.

Drivers joining Green, Skinner, Rudd, Jarrett, Gordon et al on the front stretch include Bobby Labonte (16th), Tony Stewart (18th) and Bristol expert Terry Labonte (21st) while amongst those missing out are Jeff Burton (22nd), Dale Earnhardt Jr (24th), Johnny Benson (29th) and spring pole winner Mark Martin who will start 31st.

The Bodine family look set for a successful day with all three racing brothers starting inside the top 20. Youngest brother Todd in tenth, middle brother Brett 20th and eldest brother Geoffrey, making his first NWC of the year in a second Ford Taurus owned by Brett, a very impressive 13th.

There was drama at the tail end of the grid as well with several drivers putting in excellent laps when faced with the prospect of non-qualification should things go badly. Mike Wallace, out of provisionals, qualified on speed in 27th spot as did Kevin Lepage in 25th, Rick Mast dragged the Eel River Pontiac around in 32nd fastest time marking the No.27 team's first start on speed since the Coca Cola 600 back in May when Kenny Wallace was driving. Andy Houston made it in safely with 33rd fastest time while Buckshot Jones scraped into the race in 36th (last place given on speed) after an agonising 15-minute wait on the bubble as Stacy Compton's back-up Dodge was readied following a practice crash in the morning that damaged his primary machine. Compton finally made his run at the end of the session but was five hundredths slower than Jones and failed to qualify as a result of his lack of provisionals.

Steve Park, Matt Kenseth, Ricky Craven, Michael Waltrip, John Andretti, Joe Nemechek and Jason Leffler will all start from the rear of the grid whilst joining Compton on the sidelines after failing to set the required standard are Kyle Petty, who started seventh here in March, Hermie Sadler, Dave Marcis, Carl Long and Hut Stricklin who will now have to wait until Darlington before making his 300th career start after failing to make the grid for the second time this year at Bristol.