Share this article

print logo


Bill Elliott put his fear of speeding down pit road aside Friday night, just in time to earn the pole for NASCAR's all-star race a record fifth time.

Under the unique qualifying format for tonight's The Winston (9 p.m., fx), drivers race two laps around Lowe's Motor Speedway then pit to change four tires before running a third and final lap. The speed limit coming on to pit road is 45 mph, but there is no limit exiting.

So the drivers are free to race off pit road as fast as they'd like, something Elliott hasn't been comfortable with because of two accidents involving his crew members.

In one of them, in 1986 in Atlanta, crew member Mike Rich was killed when he was hit by another car during a pit stop.

"Pit road has always been a sensitive issue for me," he said. "It's always been just a little bit of an issue because I've always had that in the back of my mind."

Elliott had the second fastest pit stop of the night -- his Evernham Motorsports team changed four tires on the No. 9 Dodge in 12.93 seconds -- and he set a new event record by completing the entire qualifying process at a speed of 131.502 mph.

Elliott has now won The Winston pole four times in the past seven years.

Steve Park earned the pole for the Winston Open, today's qualifying race held for drivers ineligible for The Winston.

Schumacher sets pace

SPIELBERG, Austria -- Michael Schumacher wants to put the turmoil from last year's Austrian Grand Prix behind him. He's off to a good start.

The five-time Formula One champion had the fastest time in pre-qualifying for the race Sunday, clocking 1 minute, 07.908 seconds and reaching speeds of more than 192 mph on the straightaway. Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello was second in 1:08.187.

Last year, Schumacher trailed Barrichello from the start until the final straightaway. Then Barrichello obeyed team orders and moved over to let Schumacher take the checkered flag and strengthen his hold on the season standings.

Foyt IV hits wall in practice

INDIANAPOLIS -- A.J. Foyt IV crashed during Indianapolis 500 practice but was not hurt.

Foyt lost control of the No. 14 car as he went through the first turn, then slid up the banking and slammed hard into the wall with the right rear of the car.

It was the second accident in Indy 500 practice for the 18-year-old rookie, the youngest-known qualifier in Indy history.

He was not injured in an accident last week when he hit the wall on the fourth turn.

Fitting for pole winner

INDIANAPOLIS -- How fitting -- Ed Carpenter won his first career pole on a track owned by his family. The stepson of Indy Racing League CEO Tony George had the fastest time in qualifying for today's inaugural Infiniti Pro Series Freedom 100 (3 p.m., ESPN 2), posting a two-lap average of 188.490 mph.

There are no comments - be the first to comment