Qualifying Goes Green

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The rains have finally moved away from the Daytona International Speedway and pole qualifying for the Daytona 500 has taken to the track. Stay with RacingOne for Live Qualifying from "The World Center of Racing".

Dale Earnhardt Jr. carries alot of momentum into today's rain delayed qualifying round for the Daytona 500.

After his stirring win Saturday night in the Bud Shootout, when he came from last in the field, Earnhardt is chomping at the bit for a shot at the coveted pole position. But even though many view him as a pre-season favorite to not only win the pole but this year's Winston Cup championship, Earnhardt isn't overly confident.

I don't think that is really my style,'' Earnhardt Jr. said. "I don't like being the favorite. I like being the surprise. I think it's a whole lot more fun when you really come out and surprise people, because that is what I've been used to all my life.''

It's tough to think of Earnhardt or his two DEI teammates, Michael Waltrip and Steve Park, as surprises, especially at a restrictor plate track like Daytona where the team has been so strong over the last few seasons. DEI has won six of the last eight races held at Daytona and Talladega and Earnhardt's performance Saturday night showed there is no reason to believe that success will stop in 2003.

"We work very hard on the restrictor plate program," said Waltrip, who won the 2001 Daytona 500. "Not that we don't work hard on the other aspects of our program but the plate tracks, Daytona and Talladega, are special to us."

Sunday's rain out was the first time Daytona 500 qualifying has been postponed since 1983. The heavy rains washed away any rubber that had been put on the track during the last several days, giving drivers a totally green racing surface for Monday afternoon's session.

Qualifying is set to begin at 1 p.m. (ET). RacingOne will have live qualifying updates of the event which will be televised live by FX.



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