Labonte Hits Jackpot

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Bobby Labonte set a new track qualifying record Friday night in the rain delayed session for Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup Series UAW-DaimlerChrylser 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a lap of 173.016 mph.

Labonte's Interstate Batteries Monte Carlo set the pace in the session, which was delayed by more than three hours because of rain. It was Labonte's 22nd career Winston Cup pole and first since April of 2001 at California Speedway.

"The credit goes to the guys back at the shop who work so hard to make this car go so fast," said Labonte. "This is a great car and hopefully we'll be able to carry this over to a win on Sunday."

Jeff Gordon will share the front row with Labonte in the DuPont Chevrolet. Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kurt Busch rounded out the Top 5 with John Andretti, Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart, Michael Waltrip and Jimmie Johnson completing the first ten qualifiers.

"That was a great effort for us," Gordon said. "`A little disappointing, but heck, I'm just glad to be up front. Bobby put a heck of a lap together."

Hometown hero Busch enters the weekend as the Winston Cup Series point leader. The Roush racing driver exnjoyed the unscheduled night qualifying session.

"It's pretty cool, this place just has that color to it and that character to it," Busch said. "If we came here in September and ran a night race, it would be a lot of fun."

The day wasn't much fun for rookie Greg Biffle, who qualified outside the top 36 and with no provisionals the Grainger Ford driver will miss Sunday's race.

Sunday's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 takes the green flag at 2 p.m. (ET).

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