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Toyota dominates Cup qualifying at Talladega

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Villeneuve starts 6th in Cup debut
October 6, 2007

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Michael Waltrip with Toyota's Jim Aust and Lee White
Toyota

Toyotas will be starting up front in Sunday's UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

For the first time in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup history, it will be an all-Toyota front row after Michael Waltrip scored the Bud Pole for the 188-lap race after turning a lap of 189.070 mph in his NAPA Auto Parts Camry.

“Obviously it’s more important to me that we have all three cars in than I’m first,” Waltrip said. “It’s a bonus to me that I’m first, but us having all three in the first eight is very gratifying. We did not sacrifice our race chances by the way we qualified."

Dave Blaney will start outside the front row in the Caterpillar Toyota ahead of the Team Red Bull Camry of Brian Vickers.

Joe Nemechek in the Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet qualified fourth with David Reutimann, piloting another Toyota, rounded out the first five.

Former Formula One and CART champion Jacques Villeneuve will make his Cup debut on Sunday after qualifying a sensational sixth with a lap of 188.215 mph in the no. 27 Bill Davis Racing Toyota.  He proves that a washed up F1 and Champ Car driver can come right into NASCAR and qualify a 100% throttle no talent required Cup car with a lot of Toyota power right up near the front.

The next five spots were also recorded by drivers that needed to qualify on time, but only the top eight made the show. AJ Allmendinger, Boris Said and Scott Riggs, who qualified ninth through 11th, respectively, will not start due to the idiotic NASCAR top-35 guaranteed starting spot rule.

Meanwhile, the cars of Penske Racing's Kurt Busch and Roush Fenway Racing's David Ragan failed postrace inspection for being too low in the front. Their times will be disallowed, forcing them to start at the rear Sunday.

Sunday's UAW-Ford 500 is slated for a 2 p.m. (ET) green flag. 

Quotes Top-3

MICHAEL WALTRIP, No. 55 NAPA Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Starting Position: 1st Did you think you were going to be on the pole? “I felt confident yesterday that we would make the race. I really didn’t think about the pole. The two runs I got in the final practice were both wind-aided. We didn’t really know what we had. Our qualifying lap was faster than what we ran in practice. If I only had to worry about my car, I would’ve been happier. But, I had to worry about Dale (Jarrett) and David (Reutimann) making the race, too. It is more important for me to have all three cars in. For me to be first is a bonus. To have all three cars in the race is very gratifying.” Can you talk about the car you brought here to Talladega? “All the boys that worked on this NAPA Camry just did a great job. When we tested here, we drafted a little bit, and then we worked on our car for speed for two days. After that, we got back in the draft, and I liked my car best then. This is not a qualifying setup. It’s ready to go. We concentrated on qualifying more than the others, so I know that’s why we’re faster than them at this point, but this car is ready to go.” How is your car going to be in the race? “I’m ready to go. We tested down here a couple of weeks ago and we got our car as good as we wanted it speed-wise. After that, I got in the draft and was able to drive to the front and ride around in the middle of it and I was happy. I told my guys last night that if we made the race, I think we can win. Now that we did, I have to show them we at least have a chance to win.”

DAVE BLANEY, No. 22 Caterpillar Camry, Bill Davis Racing Starting Position: 2nd How hard has your team worked on its superspeedway program since the beginning of the year? “There are different circumstances this time, since we’re racing the COT and have a different restrictor plate. The engine guys definitely did a great job. We’re happy with it. We thought we could come here and qualify pretty good and we did. Hopefully it will race good. The times were so close between the ‘go-or-go home’ guys, that we didn’t get a chance to work in the draft in practice. I’m sure we’ll have to work on the car all day Sunday.” How big of a focus is the top-35 in points for the team? “That’s the number one focus right now, to get in the top-35 in points, so we don’t take a chance of missing the race every week. The more times we’re out, the more chance of missing we have. Obviously, we’d like to be in the top-35 after this weekend, but the ultimate goal is to be in the top-35 after Homestead. For me, the sooner the better.”

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Camry, Team Red Bull Starting Position: 3rd How has the team improved its superspeedway program from the beginning of the year? “The team has been working so hard at it. The COT program definitely helped catch us up to everyone else. Toyota came back with more power, and that always helps. The people at Team Red Bull just built a great car. Obviously the hard work has paid off. We had a good test here and practice was good yesterday. So far, we feel pretty good about it.” Can you talk about your qualifying lap? “I just had to hit my shifts and hold it wide open. I’m so proud of these guys. Everybody at Team Red Bull and on the 83 car did a great job. This car is pretty good. We’ve caught up a little bit on the COT compared to where we were with the older car.”

Results

POS CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR SPEED TIME BEHIND
1 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 189.070 50.648  
2 22 Dave Blaney Toyota Caterpillar 188.839 50.710 -0.062
3 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 188.779 50.726 -0.078
4 78 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet Furniture Row Racing 188.471 50.809 -0.161
5 00 David Reutimann* Toyota Burger King 188.459 50.812 -0.164
6 127 Jacques Villeneuve Toyota UNICEF 188.215 50.878 -0.230
7 49 John Andretti Dodge Paralyzed Veterans of America 187.798 50.991 -0.343
8 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Pillsbury Food Service / Cheerios 187.284 51.131 -0.483
9 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Dodge Dealers / UAW 187.258 51.138 -0.490
10 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Dodge Dealers / UAW 187.119 51.176 -0.528
11 20 Tony Stewart Chevrolet The Home Depot 187.057 51.193 -0.545
12 45 Kyle Petty Dodge Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil 186.827 51.256 -0.608
13 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker 186.816 51.259 -0.611
14 96 Tony Raines Chevrolet DLP HDTV 186.761 51.274 -0.626
15 88 Mike Wallace Ford M&M's Halloween 186.692 51.293 -0.645
16 12 Ryan Newman Dodge ALLTEL 186.663 51.301 -0.653
17 18 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Interstate Batteries 186.467 51.355 -0.707
18 11 Denny Hamlin Chevrolet FedEx Ground 186.202 51.428 -0.780
19 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 186.133 51.447 -0.799
20 16 Greg Biffle Ford Starz / Dish Network 186.014 51.480 -0.832
21 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet AT&T Mobility 185.956 51.496 -0.848
22 42 Juan Montoya* Dodge Texaco / Havoline 185.938 51.501 -0.853
23 07 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 185.826 51.532 -0.884
24 7 Robby Gordon Ford Camping World / RVs.com 185.797 51.540 -0.892
25 17 Matt Kenseth Ford DEWALT 185.783 51.544 -0.896
26 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Budweiser 185.783 51.544 -0.896
27 38 David Gilliland Ford M&M's 185.725 51.560 -0.912
28 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge Target 185.625 51.588 -0.940
29 25 Casey Mears Chevrolet National Guard / GMAC 185.542 51.611 -0.963
30 15 Paul Menard* Chevrolet PEAK / Menards 185.463 51.633 -0.985
31 99 Carl Edwards Ford Office Depot 185.323 51.672 -1.024
32 66 Jeff Green Chevrolet Garmin / Best Buy 185.212 51.703 -1.055
33 40 David Stremme Dodge Coors Light 185.061 51.745 -1.097
34 24 Jeff Gordon+ Chevrolet Pepsi / DuPont 185.051 51.748 -1.100
35 26 Jamie McMurray+ Ford IRWIN Vise-Grip GrooveLocks 184.918 51.785 -1.137
36 5 Kyle Busch+ Chevrolet Kellogg's / CARQUEST 184.890 51.793 -1.145
37 29 Kevin Harvick+ Chevrolet Shell / Pennzoil 184.726 51.839 -1.191
38 01 Aric Almirola+ Chevrolet U.S. Army 184.626 51.867 -1.219
39 70 Johnny Sauter+ Chevrolet Radioactive Energy Drink 184.580 51.880 -1.232
40 21 Ken Schrader+ Ford Motorcraft 184.193 51.989 -1.341
41 2 Kurt Busch+ Dodge Miller Lite 186.416 51.369 -0.721
42 6 David Ragan+* Ford AAA Travel 185.255 51.691 -1.043
43 44 Dale Jarrett Toyota UPS 187.658 51.029 -0.381
Did Not Qualify
44 84 A.J. Allmendinger* Toyota Red Bull 187.596 51.046 -0.398
45 160 Boris Said Ford SOBE - No Fear 187.423 51.093 -0.445
46 10 Scott Riggs Dodge Valvoline / Stanley Tools 187.328 51.119 -0.471
47 06 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Mobil 1 187.262 51.137 -0.489
48 36 Jeremy Mayfield Toyota 360 OTC 187.130 51.173 -0.525
49 109 Sterling Marlin Chevrolet Miccosukee Resort & Gaming 186.696 51.292 -0.644
50 4 Ward Burton Chevrolet State Water Heaters / Miccosukee Resort 185.963 51.494 -0.846
51 37 Kevin Lepage Dodge Taco Bell 185.765 51.549 -0.901

+ Set by Owner Points
* Denotes Rookie

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