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Wallace waits out rain, then breaks record

Rusty Wallace arrived at Watkins Glen International on Friday with no idea how to deal with the new concrete laid where asphalt had been crumbling in the turns.

He left with a track record.

Wallace won the pole for Sunday's Frontier at the Glen with a lap at 121.234 mph. His Ford negotiated the 2.45-mile layout in 1 minute, 12.752 seconds.

The lap broke Dale Earnhardt's 3-year-old mark of 120.773 mph.

"It came off the truck handling great," Wallace said. "We really didn't have to do too much to it, just some adjustments to shocks and springs."

Wallace was not among the drivers who tested three weeks ago, after the turns were fixed. Winston Cup points leader Dale Jarrett did test, and advised Wallace on the best way around the road course.

"I was a little spooked by the concrete," Wallace said. "But this reminds me of the concrete at Dover and Bristol, and I love to race at both of those places."

Wallace didn't get much practice time because of rain, which delayed qualifying 3{ hours.

It rained in the morning, forcing the teams through an initial practice on treaded tires. Then the track dried, and out came the slicks. Then it rained again.

It was Wallace's second pole this season and 24th of his career.

A stunning second was Boris Said, a road-racing specialist who got his Ford around in 120.915.

"I was just trying to make the field," Said explained. "That's a lot of pressure when you have to run just one lap."

Jeff Gordon, seeking his third straight victory in this event and fifth in a row on a road course, qualified third in a Chevrolet at 120.632.

Rookie points leader Tony Stewart, driving at the Glen for the first time, qualified fourth in a Pontiac at 120.242. Fifth at 120.234 was the Ford of Mark Martin, who won the race from 1993-95 and also is a four-time road course winner.

Jerry Nadeau, road racer Ron Fellows, Bill Elliott, Jarrett and Terry Labonte rounded out the top 10. Jarrett hit a woodchuck during his qualifying run, but it had little effect on his time.

"If I had been a little quicker, we wouldn't have been there at the same time," Jarrett said.

MILLER LITE 200: Series leader Dario Franchitti led first-day qualifying for Sunday's CART race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, and broke the track record he set last year.

His fast lap of 124.394 mph was nearly a half-second faster than anyone else and bettered his mark of 123.766. Native Ohioan Bryan Herta qualified second at 123.493 and Paul Tracy was third at 123.336 on the 2.25-mile, 13-turn road course.

HUNGARIAN GP: Formula One championship leader Eddie Irvine had the fastest time in practice at Budapest. The Ferrari driver set a fast lap at 1 minute, 19.476 seconds, .246 seconds better than McLaren's Mika Hakkinen. Qualifying is today.

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