PHOENIX -- Michael Andretti surprised himself and spoiled a great effort by Bobby Rahal, as the defending IndyCar champion won the pole position for today's Valvoline 200 with a record-setting performance.
Rahal, a former series champion and second to Andretti in the 1991 PPG Cup points battle, set the target, turning a record-shattering lap of 171.618 mph yesterday as the first qualifier on the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway oval.
That broke the mark of 168.334 set last April by Rick Mears, who had won four consecutive Phoenix poles and swept all five oval track poles in 1991.
But Andretti, driving a 1991 Lola adapted to a new Ford Cosworth XB engine, stole the day, getting around the track in a startling 20.952 seconds for a speed of 171.825. His second qualifying lap was nearly as good at 171.402.
"That first lap, the car felt like it was on rails," said Andretti, who won eight poles and eight races last season and now has 21 career poles. "I was flat almost all the way around. That's the most throttle I've ever used around here. This is a huge surprise. The car loosened up on the second lap, but the engine pulled really strong on both laps."
Bud 250 Busch Grand National
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- After a rain delay of nearly four hours, Harry Gant grabbed the lead on lap No. 117 and went on to win.
Gant, who started 18th, beat Davey Allison by 3.1 seconds on the .533-mile Bristol International Raceway track. Bobby Dotter was third, followed by Dale Jarrett in fourth and Jeff Gordon in fifth.
Jimmy Spencer was leading when the rain delay began on lap No. 116.
After the delay, Spencer couldn't get his car into the forward gear and had to drop out. Gant, who was second when the rain began, moved into the lead and didn't relinquish it.
Gant's average speed was 92.929 mph, a track and event record. The previous record was 92.874 mph set by Bobby Labonte in last year's spring race.
"It was almost too wet to be out there racing," Gant said. "Towards the end, we were sticking good."
The victory was Gant's second this year in the Busch series. It was also the second victory for Gant, 51, at Bristol.
The start was delayed for an hour because of wet conditions. Tommy Houston, who started 11th, spun out on the first lap and was out for the race.
Pole sitter Butch Miller, who had set an event qualifying record Friday, lost the lead to Gordon on the first lap. Miller regained the lead on the 10th lap before losing it again to Gordon, who started on the outside of the front row.
A5 Gordon led until Lap 108, when Spencer took over.
Brazilian Grand Prix
SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Nigel Mansell was slightly injured when his car slammed into a wall during practice, but his opening qualifying run held up through the final trials to win the pole position for today's race.
Mansell's Williams-Renault spun off the track and hit the concrete wall as he tried to pass Brazil's Ayrton Senna on the outside of a tight curve.
The British driver, winner of this year's first two races on the Formula One circuit, limped away from the car and was treated at the track's medical center.
The Williams team released a statement saying Mansell was shaken and under observation for chest pains. But it said he was confident he would race today.