Toledo NASCAR fans Charlie Clingo and his son Tom relax while waiting for drivers to come by for autographs at MIS.
BROOKLYN, Mich. - Dale Jarrett is on a hot streak, but winning the pole position at Michigan International Speedway yesterday seemed to leave him in a tepid state.
"Basically, winning the pole would be more for morale and pit choice," he said after turning in the fastest practice lap yesterday. "Those are the only things, really. I honestly feel that if I started 43rd (last) here, that I could win this race as long as you have a good car.
"Obviously, if you don't qualify well, it's indicative that something isn't exactly right, but as far as if you just had to change engines and go to the back of the field, I wouldn't consider that a big blow to my chances of winning here because it is a very wide track."
Jarrett, who registered his first win of the season at Pocono, Pa., Sunday, gained the pole position with a speed of 189.071 miles per hour. He then had to wait out a 1:48 rain delay and a number of other hotshoes with blistering anticipation, but his speed held up and he bagged his first pole of the season.
Jarrett, a three-time winner here, will start from the far left side of the front row for tomorrow's NASCAR Winston Cup Sirius Satellite Radio 400 at 1 p.m. Next to him will be Michael Waltrip, whose speed of 189.793 mph was damaged by modest passage through corners three and four.
"After watching qualifying, it wasn't so much that I missed 3 and 4. It was that he (Jarrett) killed it," Waltrip explained.
"Jarrett didn't win the pole as much because I screwed up, he just laid down a great lap. That will make it easier to sleep tonight knowing that I did almost all I could do. He just went out and did it a little better."
It must be a Dale craze.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., the third fastest qualifier at 188.744, like Jarrett, wasn't terribly delighted with his starting position.
"Starting up front is pretty important, but it's such a long race and such a wide track that it's real easy to pass and real easy to work your way up front," he said.
CRASH COURSE: Casey Atwood, driving the Sirius Satellite sponsored Dodge, crashed hard during his qualifying warmup lap, suffering a slight injury to a muscle in his left arm and was released from the infield care center.
ROOKIE ON POLE: Chad Blount, a 23-year-old rookie from Walkerton, Ind., is without a sponsor, but he didn't let that stand in the way yesterday. He won the pole position for today's ARCA RE/MAX Flagstar 200 today with a speed of 184.016 miles per hour.
Another Hoosier, current ARCA points leader Frank Kimmel, from Jefferson, Ind., qualified second with a speed of 183.346 mph. Rick Carelli, of Arvade, Colo., was third fastest at 182.579 mph.