BRIAN VICKERS/No.83 Toyota may feel vindicated after last Sunday’s ill-fated NASCAR Sprint Cup Daytona 500 race, when he was caught in an accident which left him an unwilling DNF in fortieth place. Friday he took the pole position for Sunday’s Auto Club 500 race on the Southern California two-mile superspeedway.
Stats wise, this is Vicker’s second pole at the track, and his sixth overall in 174 Cup starts. He had been concerned that he set his fast lap early in the qualifying session, and thought the track could “pick up late in the day with the clouds coming in.” Vickers didn’t break the existing qualifying track record of 38.248/188.425 mph set by KYLE BUSCH on 25 February 2005.
Vicker’s Red Bull teammate, SCOTT SPEED/No.82 Toyota, was the top Rookie in ninth place. The driver Speed replaced on the team, A.J. ALLMENDINGER/No.44 Dodge – who had to qualify his way into the field based on time – was eighth overall.
The top five fast drivers were Vickers; last year’s Cup champion, JIMMIE JOHNSON/No.48 Chevrolet; JAMIE McMURRAY/No.26 Ford; KURT BUSCH/No.2 Dodge; and GREG BIFFLE/No.16 Ford.
Those who left disappointed were: TODD BODINE/No.64 Toyota; TONY RAINES/No.37 Dodge; DAVID STARR/No.51 Dodge; MIKE GARVEY/No.73 Dodge; and STERLING MARLIN/No.09 Dodge. While Bodine, winner of last weekend’s Daytona Truck race, won’t be driving in the Sprint Cup race, he will be running his unsponsored Truck Saturday afternoon.
The Cup manufacturer lineup is: Chevrolet-15/0 DNQ; Toyota-13/1 DNQ; Ford 8-0 DNQ; and Dodge-7/4 DNQ.
All In The Family. Sprint Cup regular and winner of last year’s Fontana Truck race, KYLE BUSCH/No.51 Toyota, has the pole for Saturday noon’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series San Bernardino County 200 Race. His time of 41.341/174.161 mph didn’t break the record of 177.388 mph set last year by his older brother, KURT BUSCH. Kyle Busch is proud of his villain persona and his nickname Rowdy is painted over the door of his truck.
The 2008 Truck Champion, JOHNNY BENSON/No.1 Toyota was second, and motocross champion RICKY CARMICHAEL/No.4 Chevrolet was third overall and top Rookie. Rounding out the top five were two veterans and previous champions of the series, RON HORNADAY/No.33 Chevrolet and MIKE SKINNER/No.5 Toyota.
The only female racer in the field, GABI DICARLO/No.90 Toyota, will make her debut from twenty-third on the grid.
MIKE HARMON/No.89 Chevrolet failed to make the race.
The Truck manufacturer lineup is: Toyota-18/0 DNQ; Chevrolet-13/1 DNQ; Dodge-4/0 DNQ; and Ford-3/0 DNQ.
The Sprint Cup race starts Sunday at 6 PM EST/3 PM PST live on FOX, with the pre-race show starting an hour earlier.
The Truck race will start Saturday at 3 PM EST/noon PST and will air live on FOX.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series also races Saturday starting at dusk, with qualifying Saturday morning.