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Rudd leads field of record runs in AC Delco qualifying

Ricky Rudd was the leader of the demolition crew Friday at North Carolina Motor Speedway.

Rudd and the other 42 drivers who made qualifying attempts in the rain-delayed opening round of time trials for Sunday's AC Delco 500 beat the track record on the repaved 1.016-mile oval.

The fast lap of 157.099 mph by Rudd in his own Ford Thunderbird gave him his 21st career pole and first since June 1992 on the road course at Sonoma, Calif., a span of 75 races.

The track record was set in February, before the repaving, at 151.716 mph by Geoff Bodine.

"It seems like I have a tough time getting my concentration level right for qualifying," Rudd said. "You never know who's coming out of the dark to qualify well, but today it shook out the way we thought it would.

"We were just a little better. We knew the track was going to be very fast, but 157 seems awful fast on a mile track. I've been around here and qualified at 140 mph and been busier than I was today at 157."

Terry Labonte was .071-seconds slower than Rudd, taking the outside spot on the front row with a lap of 156.904. Bodine, who blew an engine in the morning practice session, came back to take third at 156.823, followed by Derrike Cope at 156.810 and Brett Bodine at 156.595.

Winning the pole qualified Rudd for the Busch Clash, a race for the previous season's pole-winners in February at Daytona Beach.

Dale Earnhardt, who holds a nearly insurmountable 321-point lead over Rusty Wallace in the battle for the 1994 Winston Cup championship, qualified 20th at 154.978, with Wallace 14th at 155.498.

Officials, meanwhile, announced that next year's fall race will be cut from 492 laps (500 miles) to 394 laps (400 miles) and renamed.

David Green of Owensboro, Ky., won the pole for today's AC Delco 200 NASCAR Busch Grand National, running his Chevrolet Lumina to 153.419 mph, breaking the track qualifying record of 148.257 set by Robert Pressley in February.

Elsewhere

Sebring: Joe Varde of Tampa qualified seventh at 88.171 mph for today's 12-Hour Firestone Firehawk Endurance race for IMSA grand stock. Ken McKinnon of Tampa qualified 19th at 85.445. The starting lineup for the 30-minutes IMSA Bridgestone Supercar Championship for exotic sports cars includes Dave White of Tampa in a Porsche 911 C2 (91.256 mph) in 10th.

American Motorcyclist Association: Ian Lineberger (Yamaha) of St. Petersburg was fifth in the Lightweight SuperSport division at Daytona Beach.

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