Bolstered by a smooth, new racing surface at Kentucky Speedway, 12 NASCAR Busch Series drivers turned in times faster than last year's pole-winner during Friday afternoon's Lexington Herald Leader Pole Night qualifying for Saturday's The Kroger 300 Presented by Oreo.

Scott Riggs, winner of the 2001 "Kroger 225" NASCAR Craftsmen Truck Series Race at Kentucky Speedway last July, continued his impressive rookie campaign in the Busch Series by winning his second Bud Pole Award of the year. Riggs (No. 10 Nestle Nesquik Ford) turned his fastest lap in 30.887 seconds, good for a speed of 174.831 mph.

"We unloaded a good car and when you do that, all you have to do is fine tune it," said Riggs who stands third in points after 15 races this season. "Nesquik knew what we needed today. They did real well here last year so they know what it takes to win."

Riggs, whose wife gave birth to their first son (Lane Griffin Riggs) on Tuesday, had topped the speed charts in practice earlier in the day by turning his best lap at 173.717 miles per hour.

Last year's pole sitter, Jay Sauter, held the top time for much of the qualifying session. After claiming the pole in 2001 with a speed of 171.860 mph, Sauter will start second on Saturday after posting a qualifying lap of 174.357 mph (30.971 seconds).

"This just goes out to the Childress racing team," Sauter said. "They put out good cars and cars that can win."

Series points leader Jack Sprague (No. 23 NetZero Chevrolet) will start on the inside of Row 2 after turning his fastest lap at 173.868 mph. Jason Keller, who trailed Sprague by just 80 points entering this weekend, qualified fourth with a speed of 173.650 mph.

The Lexington Herald-Leader Pole Night will continue with the Busch Series qualifying final practice tonight at 7:30 p.m. The NASCAR Hills Bros. All Pro Series "Kentucky 150 " will begin at 9:00 p.m.

The NASCAR Busch Series takes center stage for "The Kroger 300 Presented by Oreo" on June 15 at 8:00 p.m. Gates open at noon and the multitude of pre-race festivities will include a concert by pop/rock band Dishwalla and a 90th Birthday Celebration for presenting sponsor Oreo®.

Tickets for this evening's events are available at 1-888-652-RACE (7223) and the Kentucky Speedway ticket office at 2216 Dixie Hwy., Ste. 300, until 6:00 p.m. today, and at the speedway ticket office at Gate 16 until race time.

Tickets for June 15 are available at until midnight, at outlets located in Meijer, Hader Hardware and Play-It-Again Sports stores until 8:00 p.m. and at the speedway ticket office at Gate 16 until race time.