Geoff Bodine topped a record-breaking round of qualifying Friday at North Carolina Motor Speedway, taking the pole position for the Goodwrench 500.
Bodine, driving his own Ford Thunderbird, turned a fast lap of 151.716 mph on the 1.017-mile oval to earn his 31st career pole and his first as a NASCAR Winston Cup team owner. Mark Martin, who had won three straight Rockingham poles, gave Ford a sweep of the front row for Sunday's race with a lap of 151.609 only minutes after Bodine's run.
"We were fast (in practice), but not as fast as Mark and some of those other guys," Bodine said.
Bodine, who midway through last season bought the team formerly owned by Alan Kulwicki, who was killed in April in a plane crash, retained most of Kulwicki's crew, including crew chief Paul Andrews.
"This is really special," Bodine said. "This is the first good thing, besides taking over the team, that has happened to (wife) Kathy and me since we took over the team."
Bodine's quick lap also gave Hoosier Tire, hoping to bounce back from a disastrous week at the season-opening Daytona 500, its second straight pole position.
"That's another reason we didn't think we could get the pole," Bodine said. "We're pretty certain the Hoosiers are going to race good on this track, but we didn't expect them to qualify this well."
Hoosier, which is playing David to entrenched Goodyear's Goliath, gave its contracted drivers, including Bodine, permission to use their rival's brand at Daytona after the new radials proved too slow to compete during a pair of 125-mile qualifying races.
Safety concerns also were raised at the race after drivers Neil Bonnett and Rodney Orr died in qualifying run crashes while using the Hoosier tires.
After Bodine, the leading Hoosier qualifier Friday was Darrell Waltrip, ninth in a Chevrolet Lumina at 150.148.
Only the top 20 qualifiers locked up starting spots for Sunday's 500-miler, and 14 of them surpassed the track record of 149.926, set in February 1992 by Kyle Petty.
"This is what the tire war, or whatever you want to call it, produces _ faster tires," Bodine said. "They're safer, but they're faster."
Pressley wins pole
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. _ Robert Pressley won the pole for today's Goodwrench 200 Busch Grand National stock-car race, turning a fast lap of 148.257 mph at North Carolina Motor Speedway. Shawna Robinson took the outside spot on the front row with a lap of 147.802, matching the best starting position for a woman in Grand National history. Patty Moise started second at Road Atlanta in 1987.