Sadler takes Darlington pole, his first one after 145 starts

Auto Racing

March 15, 2003|By CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

DARLINGTON, S.C. - Hurry up and wait.

That was pretty much Elliott Sadler's day yesterday at Darlington Raceway.

Sadler had certainly hurried around the 1.366-mile track in qualifying for tomorrow's Dodge 400, running 170.174 mph on what turned out to be a pole-winning lap that he said was "pretty much on the edge."

"I told the guys when I got out of the car I was shaking," Sadler said. "It was the best I could do. If those guys can run better than that, they're welcome to it."

Sadler then spent the next hour or so as 27 other cars tried to deny him. Both he and crew chief, Raymond Fox, were looking for their first Winston Cup pole. They sequestered themselves in the team's transporter until the verdict was in.

"It was pretty exciting, actually," said Sadler, who has started second twice. "Especially Ryan Newman. I didn't even want to hear his lap time."

As usual, Newman was fast in his No. 12 Dodge. But his 169.374 mph was only good enough for the outside spot on Row 1, giving Sadler his first pole for his 146th start.

Sadler ran two laps at speed in the same Ford he finished ninth in two weeks ago at Rockingham and decided to leave well enough alone.

"We were so fast, and we didn't want to take the chance of sliding the car and rubbing the wall of blowing a tire and messing it up," Sadler said.

Lineup

Carolina Dodge Dealers 400

At Darlington, S.C. Lap length: 1.366 miles (Car number in parentheses) 1. (38) Elliott Sadler, Ford, 170.147 mph.

2. (12) Ryan Newman, Dodge, 169.374.

3. (01) Jerry Nadeau, Pontiac, 169.170.

4. (7) Jimmy Spencer, Dodge, 169.088.

5. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 169.071.

6. (97) Kurt Busch, Ford, 168.984.

7. (22) Ward Burton, Dodge, 168.926.

8. (40) Sterling Marlin, Dodge, 168.816.

9. (15) Michael Waltrip, Chevrolet, 168.769.

10. (54) Todd Bodine, Ford, 168.764.

11. (19) Jeremy Mayfield, Dodge, 168.682.

12. (17) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 168.665.

13. (2) Rusty Wallace, Dodge, 168.538.

14. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 168.469.

15. (49) Ken Schrader, Dodge, 168.261.

16. (8) Dale Earnhardt Jr, Chevrolet, 168.175.

17. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 168.146.

18. (77) Dave Blaney, Ford, 168.094.

19. (42) Jamie McMurray, Dodge, 168.066.

20. (18) Bobby Labonte, Chevrolet, 168.043.

21. (23) Kenny Wace, Dodge, 168.025.

22. (10) Johnny Benson, Pontiac, 167.980.

23. (4) Mike Skinner, Pontiac, 167.951.

24. (41) Casey Mears, Dodge, 167.876.

25. (9) Bill Elliott, Dodge, 167.785.

26. (43) John Andretti, Dodge, 167.767.

27. (6) Mark Martin, Ford, 167.665.

28. (20) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 167.619.

29. (5) Terry Labonte, Chevrolet, 167.368.

30. (31) Robby Gordon, Chevrolet, 167.135.

31. (32) Ricky Craven, Pontiac, 167.123.

32. (30) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, 166.913.

33. (29) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 166.908.

34. (0) Jack Sprague, Pontiac, 166.789.

35. (1) Steve Park, Chevrolet, 166.710.

36. (88) Dale Jarrett, Ford, 166.394.

37. (21) Ricky Rudd, Ford, Provisional.

38. (99) Jeff Burton, Ford, Provisional.

39. (45) Kyle Petty, Dodge, Provisional.

40. (57) Brett Bodine, Ford, Provisional.

41. (25) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, Provisional.

42. (74) Tony Raines, Chevrolet, Provisional.

43. (14) Larry Foyt, Dodge, Provisional.

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