Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jarrett Earns Michigan Pole

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jarrett Earns Michigan Pole

Article excerpt

Byline: Don Coble, Times-Union sports writer

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Not even Mother Nature could beat Dale Jarrett during yesterday's pole qualifying for the Sirius Satellite Radio 400.

Jarrett, last week's winner at Pocono, Pa., established the speed to beat moments before a thunderstorm at the Michigan International Speedway delayed the finish of time trials by 1 hour, 48 minutes. His Ford was the fastest during two practice sessions leading up to qualifying, and he backed it up when it counted most.

As if Jarrett needed help, the approaching storm created cloud cover and cooler temperatures that gave him a greater advantage on the 24 drivers who qualified under the sunny conditions that followed the storm.

The first 19 drivers qualified ahead of the storm, including Jarrett, who was 18th off the line. Two minutes after he completed his lap, NASCAR waved the red flag as rain and lightning hit the Irish Hills area of Southern Michigan, about an hour southwest of Detroit.

"You couldn't have better conditions to run under,'' Jarrett said after a lap of 189.071 mph. "This race track is very temperature sensitive and when you get a cloud cover, it's going to be very fast.

"A lot of it is how fast you can pick back up the throttle. You can overdrive this place real easy. With the horsepower I have, it's better for me to drive it off the corner than into the corner.''

Jarrett said he lost speed in the first and second turn because he came into the turn too hot. But he carved a perfect route through the third and fourth turns and that allowed him to get a great running start for the run to the finish line.

"When you feel like you've left something out there, somebody will clip you,'' said Michael Waltrip, whose Chevrolet was second at 188.793 mph. "I thought I left something out there in [turns] three and four, but after I saw a replay of it, I didn't mess up as much as Dale Jarrett killed it. He was so much faster than anyone else through three and four. …

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