Defending "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" champion Mike Skinner became the ninth different NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series pole award winner at Kentucky Speedway this afternoon by tearing off a 171.499-mph (31.487 seconds) lap in his No. 5 Bill Davis Racing machine.

Skinner snares his first career pole award at the track, his third Keystone Light pole award of the season and the 46th of his career. He will start from the top spot on the grid for the third time in the past six series races and start an NCTS event on the front row for the fifth time in the past seven events.

The 1995 NCTS Champion ranks sixth in the series standings through 12 events and sits 113 points behind championship leader Ron Hornaday, Jr., after taking three top-five and 10 top-10 finishes this season.

Skinner will attempt to become the first series Kentucky Speedway pole award winner to earn a race victory and the first repeat series winner at the track when the 36-truck field takes the green flag for the "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" at 7:00 p.m.

"Our truck wasn't really good enough to get the pole today, but I'm not sure how many of these things we've gotten because I was dumb enough to hold the thing wide-open and not hit the fence," he said.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leader Kyle Busch, making his first NCTS Kentucky appearance in the No. 51 Billy Ballew machine, will start second after turning a 171.217-mph (31.539 seconds) lap. A win would make Busch the first three-series winner in Kentucky Speedway history. He earned a NASCAR Nationwide Series win at the track June 19, 2004 and an ARCA RE/MAX Series win May 10, 2003. Roush Fenway racer and NCTS rookie standings leader Colin Braun qualified third with a 171.076-mph (31.565 seconds) lap. He led the opening practice session yesterday with a 171.532-mph (31.481 seconds) lap and was 14th quickest in the final practice session with a 169.715-mph (31.818 seconds) lap. Veteran Johnny Benson completed the second row after turning a 170.983-mph (31.582 seconds) lap in his No. 23 Bill Davis Racing truck.

Skinner's top effort this afternoon was the fourth fastest series qualifying lap turned at Kentucky Speedway through nine sessions, but failed to threaten the standing series track record set by Bill Lester with a 178.141-mph (30.313 seconds) lap on July 9, 2005.

Hornaday, Jr., qualified eighth with a 170.589-mph (31.655 seconds) lap. He earned his 2006 "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" win from the 22nd starting spot, the deepest of any Kentucky Speedway NCTS winner.

Blood Sweat and Tears will be in concert at 5:30 p.m., on the Turn 1 Concourse. Race tickets are available at the speedway main entrance.

Story by Mike Schmaltz

~ Kentucky Speedway ~