No 93 Team Starts 35Th In Chicago

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Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd, Tony Stewart and the rest of the drivers trailing Jeff Gordon in the Winston Cup points standings got what they wanted on Friday… Gordon qualifying outside of the Top 20.

It’s not like Gordon – who has three wins and 11 Top 10s in 17 races this season – won’t have a car good enough to make its way through the field, but the other drivers can hope, right?

Gordon, who leads the points standings by 48 over Jarrett heading into Sunday’s Tropicana 400, qualified 28th on Friday for the inaugural Winston Cup event at Chicagoland Speedway.

Todd Bodine took top honors on Friday, winning his first pole of the season in the No. 66 Kmart Ford.

"The first lap, I messed up," Bodine said. "I got down into Turn 3 really good and the car turned so good that I ran across the apron. But then I ran a really good lap. It was a good day for the "Blue Light Special."

Following Bodine under the checkered flag Sunday will be his teammate Jimmy Spencer, Ricky Rudd, Bill Elliott, Joe Nemechek, Kevin Harvick, Mike Skinner, Jerry Nadeau, Sterling Marlin and Brett Bodine. Jarrett qualified 11th.

Dave Blaney and the No. 93 Amoco Ultimate team qualified 35th for the event

"That's about what we hoped for," Rudd said. "A lot of guys slowed down since they practiced, and that was quicker than we ran in practice. We didn't test here, but we were able to take good advantage of that practice time we had Thursday and I couldn't be happier."

Despite his winning at Darlington after starting 24th – his worst start of the year thus far – the rest of the Cup Series drivers (especially Jarrett and Rudd) are hoping the troubles Gordon had at Daytona last week will continue.

Last week, Gordon started the event fifth, but wound up 37th after being involved in “the big wreck,” and then having engine problems near the end of the race.

"We're real disappointed with that run today," Gordon said. "The sun and the heat became a factor. We were expecting to go for the pole today."

The pole is the first of the season for Bodine, and the second of his career (the other being in 1997 at Watkins Glen). It’s a bit of good news that his Haas-Carter Motorsports team could use. He’s currently 33rd in points with only one top-10 finish.

"Once this race track gets broken in and gets some weather on it, it's gonna be a heck of a place to race," Bodine said. "Tomorrow it's gonna be a lot like Las Vegas - two, three-wide, kind of pick your own groove."

More good news for the Haas-Carter team was the run by Spencer, who also qualified second earlier in the day for Saturday’s Busch Series event.

“We put the car back to where we were when we tested here,” Spencer said. “I think it’s great to have both of us on the front row. It’s special for Travis (Carter) and Carl Haas. It’s a tribute to our race teams and never giving up."

On the other end of the spectrum, Dale Earnhardt Jr., one week after winning at Daytona, got the last non-provisional starting spot at 36th fastest.

Other drivers with disappointing runs included Mark Martin (18th fastest), Rusty Wallace (21st), Bobby Labonte (24th), Tony Stewart (27th) and Jeff Burton (32nd).

Drivers that had to take provisionals to get into the field were Robby Gordon (in the No. 7 NationsRent Ford), Michael Waltrip, Hut Stricklin, Jeremy Mayfield, Matt Kenseth, Buckshot Jones and Terry Labonte.

Kyle Petty, Dave Marcis, Mike Bliss and Shawna Robinson failed to make the field.

Sunday's Tropicana 400 is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. (ET).

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2001

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