Rudd wins Aaron's 499 pole
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"It couldn't be a better day for the Wood Brothers," said Rudd. "We were fastest in practice, but we didn't really know how fast we could run because we had a little help."
The qualifying time was nowhere near the record of 212.809 m.p.h. set in pre- restrictor plate days by
Starting on the front row with Rudd will be Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s
Series points leader and defending champion
"I would have liked to start on the pole, but you know we have our best car in the museum at Daytona," said Earnhardt Jr.
Earnhardt Jr. earned four straight victories at Talladega between October 2001 and last April, including a sweep there in 2002. His streak was broken when he finished second to his teammate Waltrip last fall. Earnhardt Jr.'s sweep in 2002 is one of six sweeps at the track since it began hosting races in 1969. While "Junior" is the only driver to win four consecutive races at Talladega, his father is the only driver to sweep the season races twice (1990 and 1999).
DEI has scored 10 victories in the 13 restrictor-plate races since the spring of 2001. Earnhardt Jr., has scored six times, while
Other prominent starters include:
Starting is not quite as important at Talladega as some other tracks. Eight of the last 10 races here have been won from starting positions of 13th or worse.
"Talladega is like a big chess game," said
Rudd will make his 55th start at Talladega, which will tie
The race is scheduled to begin on Sunday at 1 p.m. (et).