RICHMOND, Va. (May 14, 2004) – Brian Vickers set a new Richmond International Speedway track record in Chevy American Revolution 400 qualifying on Friday, earning his first-ever NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series pole position.
One day after teammate Kyle Busch accomplished the same feat in Busch Series competition, Vickers, 20, drove his No. 25 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet to a lap of 129.983 mph, besting second-place Ryan Newman and third-place Jeff Green.
“It feels good to finally get our first pole,” said Vickers, who had earned three outside pole positions in 15 previous NEXTEL Cup qualifying attempts. “We’ve come close so many times.
“I wasn’t really sure if the lap would hold up, but obviously it did. I just hope the car is as good in race trim as it was in qualifying.”
Jimmie Johnson and Team Lowe’s Racing put a second Hendrick Motorsports entry in the top five, posting the fifth-best lap at 129.565 mph.
Thanks to one win, six top-fives and seven top-10 finishes, the El Cajon, Calif., native is currently second in the NEXTEL Cup standings, just 25 points behind leader Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Coming off two consecutive victories, Jeff Gordon will start 13th Saturday in the No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo. It was his eighth top-15 qualifying effort in 11 events this season.
The four-time Cup Series champion will be looking for his third-ever victory at Richmond, where he has 14 career top-10 showings.
Veteran Terry Labonte will line up 19th on the grid in the No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevy, marking his 52nd start at the .75-mile oval.
With 27 top-10 finishes at RIR, Labonte is tied for first all-time with Ricky Rudd and Rusty Wallace.
Saturday’s Chevy American Revolution 400 will be broadcast live on FX and MRN Radio beginning at 7 p.m. ET.