Rusty Wallace came to New Hampshire International Speedway hoping for his second victory of the season, and his performance in qualifying Saturday did nothing to discourage that notion.
Wallace's Ford was the class of the field -- the fastest in practice and qualifying for today's $2 million Dura Lube 300 (12:30 p.m., TNN; Radio 1330, 1340).
"Every time you go out it's like a race, that's how big it's gotten," Wallace said after posting an event-record speed of 129.820 mph. "I've won the first practice and I've won qualifying, so now I've got to win the big one."
Wallace hasn't done that at NHIS since taking the New England inaugural in 1993. Although the pole run -- eclipsing Ken Schrader's 1997 event mark of 129.182 but falling short of Jeff Gordon's two-month-old track record of 131.171 -- resulted in Wallace's second front-row start this year on the track, he knows the competition will be tough.
"You've got to look at (Tony) Stewart and at the 43 (John Andretti) car," Wallace said. "They were really strong last time."
Indeed, but both ran out of gas in the final laps, giving the Jiffy Lube 300 in July to Jeff Burton for the third year in a row. And, if Wallace needs any further incentive today, he can get it by looking immediately to his right.
Winston Cup points leader Dale Jarrett will start there in his Ford after a qualifying effort of 129.213. Still, Wallace thinks his biggest obstacle might be nowhere near the front when the green flag falls.
"That 99 car of Jeff Burton is always strong here, so if you take those guys right there, I think you've got who you've got to shoot for," he said.
The pole was the third this year and 25th of Wallace's career, but he's more interested in getting his milestone 50th career victory.
"I'd trade those three poles for three wins," said Wallace, who sometimes has trouble finding the right combination.
"I used to qualify not good and run really good in the race. Now, I'm qualifying really good and struggling in my long runs."
Schulz is 'King' at Ransomvile
Mark Schulz was the winner of the King of the Hill 100 at Ransomville Speedway Saturday night, despite starting in the 23rd position. Schulz took home $1,000; Jody Herriven finished second. Cory Sawyer took the Street Stock race in the track's last night of the season.