Bobby Labonte Wins Busch Pole
May. 21, 1998
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) _ Bobby Labonte, subbing for Tony Stewart, picked up his first Busch Grand National pole since 1996 in Thursday's qualifying for the Carquest Auto Parts 300.
Labonte, a Winston Cup regular driving a Pontiac, earned his second Busch pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway and 10th of his career with a speed of 173.822 mph, edging Kevin Lepage.
Labonte won earlier in the season at Darlington subbing for Stewart, who has a commitment to run in this weekend's Indianapolis 500.
``That was the best lap I had run all day,'' Labonte said of his qualifying run. ``I only get one every 50 laps or so, so that helped out.''
Lepage, who finished second in this race last year, qualified at 172.756 mph and will be alongside Labonte on the front row in a Chevrolet.
``Last year we had to come from 24th and finished second,'' Lepage said. ``Hopefully we can get in front this time.''
Jim Bown qualified third, followed by Dale Fischlein and Matt Kenseth. All drove Chevrolets.
Gary Laton was one of three drivers to wreck in qualifying at the 1.5-mile oval. He sustained a concussion and was transported to University Hospital for a CAT scan and X-rays of his neck, a track official said.
Positions 29-35 were determined by provisionals based on current Busch points, while the final eight spots in the 43-car field will be determined in a 40-lap qualifying race Friday afternoon.
Among those having to run in Friday's qualifying were Jimmy Spencer, Derrike Cope and Bobby Hillin Jr.