Ryan On The Record: Charlotte

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We returned to Lowe's Motor Speedway on a high after doing so well in The Winston Open, despite the motor problem that knocked us out early.

This week, we were pretty good right off the truck on Thursday. Our only practice before qualifying gave us an opportunity to work on both qualifying and race set up. We were pretty excited about the possibilities at that point and were confident we would qualify in the top-ten.

As the sun went down I knew the track would be changing but on top of that it started to rain. We were hoping it would stop because to qualify in the heat of the day would be much harder. If it rained on Friday we may have not gotten to qualify at all and with our limited amount of owner points we may have gone home.

Luckily, the rain stopped and the cars started to roll. We had a later qualifying draw so I knew how fast I'd have to go. Todd Bodine set a quick pace and had the provisional pole when it was our turn, but I was determined. I really like racing at Charlotte and I knew we had the car that could sit on the pole.

Once it was my turn I focused on the track. I knew it was a good lap but I didn't know how good until my crew chief Matt Borland came on the radio. We had stunned the entire field by winning the pole and even though there were a few cars left, no one could touch us.

So, in only my third Winston Cup start I had my first career pole. Needless to say we were all on a high for the rest of the weekend and we were excited for the race.

I knew I had to be patient but there are some things I guess you have to learn. I pulled ahead of Jeff Gordon on the lead lap and led 10 laps before the car got away from me. Unfortunately there was too much damage to repair and since we aren't running for points, we packed up. Even though we wrecked, we learned a lot and that's what it's all about.

We go back to the ARCA Series for a couple of weeks with a couple tests thrown in there, too. Hopefully, we can pick up a win or two and get ready for our next Winston Cup event at Indianapolis.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2001

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