Grids Set For Tripleheader Fall Classic
American Speed Association National Tour, NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division Southeast Series (NAEDSS) and IPOWER DASH Series drivers turned laps on the 1.5-mile tri-oval at Kentucky Speedway today and established early favorites for the races that will comprise the "Tripleheader Fall Classic" tomorrow.
Remnants of Hurricane Ivan generated light morning rain and 20 mph winds throughout the day. ASA and IPOWER DASH Series drivers participated in two practice sessions while the NAEDSS opted for one practice session and a qualifying round. ASA National Tour and IPOWER DASH Series starting grids were set by current series standings.
Three-time NAEDSS Kentucky Speedway winner and Cincinnati native Jeff Fultz (No. 55 C&C Boilers Chevrolet) won his first career pole award at his home track with fast lap of 156.318 mph (34.545 seconds). He bettered his quickest practice lap of the day by 1.617 mph. He rides a three-race win streak into "The Kentucky 150" and will look for his second Kentucky win this season along with his fifth win in six starts. He owns a total of five wins, eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes through 10 starts this season.
The Sycamore High School graduate will start the race with a 64-point lead over second-place driver Erik Darnell (No. 7 AMI Trailer Leasing Chevrolet). Darnell qualified second with a lap of 156.227 mph (24.565 seconds). Darnell finished eighth and a lap down in the series June race at Kentucky Speedway after his car ran out of fuel in closing laps.
"We found the attitude of the car was the biggest thing," Fultz said. "The guys really worked hard and they know this race means a lot to me at my home track. They went to work this month and built a new car to run here. I had a really good lap, it was really free and right on the edge. To get a pole here with all the wins we've had means a lot because we'll probably have about 200 people from Cincinnati coming over tomorrow."
Defending and two-time ASA National Tour champion Kevin Cywinski (No. 1 Country Joe Homes/Red Line Oil Chevrolet) will lead the ASA field to the green flag for the "BFGoodrich 225" with a 99-point lead over second-place driver Tim Sauter (No. 9 Lester Buildings/Structure Transport Ford).
Cywinski starts from the pole for the second time this season. He has generated one win, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes through 11 of the scheduled 14 tour events. The 39-year-old driver from Wasau, Wis., placed 21st in the first practice session then slipped to 24th in final practice. He finished 28th in the tour debut at Kentucky Speedway on May 7, 2004. Sauter finished 11th in the spring race and has driven to four top-five and seven top-10 finishes this season.
"The car is off a little bit right now," Cywinski said. We have a whole different aero package with the rear spoiler and roof spoiler," Cywinski said. "We were able to draft a little bit and I think the car was good. We just got to get the car a little bit better by itself and I think we'll be okay for tomorrow night." IPOWER DASH Series leader Danny Bagwell (No. 10 Torbert Trucking/Five Bros. Produce Mercury) will roll of the grid for "The Kentucky 100" with a two-point advantage over second-place driver Johnny Chapman (No. 24 Alarm South Pontiac) with three races remaining on the 2004 schedule.
Chapman gained an early advantage on Bagwell by leading the series first practice session with a fast lap of 153.777 mph.
"We put some of the new tires on the car to scuff them up and the car ran pretty good," Chapman said. "The wind coming out of Turn 2 really made the car move, so I didn't want to push it hard. Hopefully we can get a little bit more out of the guys, the car and the driver."
Bagwell closed out the final practice session fifth with a session-best lap of 151.104 mph (35.737 mph). Chapman was third in the session with a quick lap of 153.226 mph (35.242 seconds).
"We still have a few things to work on," Bagwell said. "We'd have like to seen qualifying, but we'll do this as a qualifying/practice. With these cars, there isn't a whole lot of difference between a race run and qualifying run."
The "Triple Header Fall Classic" will feature a combined 475-miles of race action tomorrow at the speedway. Gates open at 1:00 p.m. 2004 Country Music Association (CMA) Vocal Duo of the Year Award nominee Blue County will perform a pre-race concert beginning at 2:00 p.m. on the WUBE-FM B-105 Country Music Soundstage and pre-race festivities begin at 3:15 p.m. The IPOWER DASH Series "Kentucky 100" rolls off the grid at 4:00 p.m., the NAEDSS "Kentucky 150" begins at 6:00 p.m. and the ASA National Tour "BFGoodrich Tires 225" starts at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the speedway main entrance between Gates 15 and 16 beginning at noon on race day.
~ Kentucky Speedway ~