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Sadler on Darlington pole in runaway

Published Aug. 31, 2005

This one was over Friday almost as quickly as it began. Sunday, though, promises to be a different story on exacting Darlington Raceway.

Elliott Sadler smoked 'em in practice and smoked 'em again in qualifying for Sunday's Carolina Dodge Dealers 400. He went out 16th among the 43 qualifiers, posted an untouchable 170.147 mph (28.902 seconds), then nervously endured the rest of Winston Cup qualifying.

His first pole in 146 starts came ahead of Ryan Newman, Jerry Nadeau, Jimmy Spencer and Jeff Gordon. The rest of the top 10: Kurt Busch, Ward Burton, Sterling Marlin, Michael Waltrip, Todd Bodine.

"This is huge because it's bothered me not having a pole," Sadler said. "I got bit last year at Texas, where I was on the pole almost the whole time before Bill Elliott went out late and beat me. It's like I never recovered from that. It's great to get my first pole here, where you have to drive the car. It's also great to get it early in the season. You don't understand what a relief this is.

"I told the guys when I got out of the car I was shaking. It was the best I could do. If those guys can run better than that, they're welcome to it."

They couldn't.

CRAFTSMAN 200: Bobby Hamilton swept past defending champion Ted Musgrave with 16 laps remaining and barely held on to win Friday at Darlington Raceway.

It was the second victory in three years at Darlington for owner-driver Hamilton.

Hamilton got a big break when Andy Houston hit the wall on the 125th of 147 laps. That brought out a caution that bunched the field and wiped out a big lead by Musgrave, who finished a length back.

BMW WINS AT SEBRING: Bill Auberlen of Hermosa Beach, Calif., captured his second SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car Championship victory in dominating fashion at Sebring International Raceway. He averaged 88.701 mph in the 17-lap, 62.9-mile event in a BMW 325i.