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Todd Bodine on Pole at Watkins Glen

8 August 1997

WATKINS GLEN, NY -- A new face just visiting the Winston Cup series, for now, will take the field to green in Sunday's Bud at the Glen. Who is the new guy on the block? None other than Chemung New York's Todd Bodine.

Bodine, who is running a Chevrolet from the Frank Cicci Team 34 stables - with Hardinge livery, ran a 73.192 second (120.505 mph) lap. Bodine took his lap early in the session and just had to sit and watch as the big guns of road racing took to the track. Names like Martin, Dallenbach, Terry Labonte and even last year's pole sitter Dale Earnhardt all took their best shots and came up short.

Bodine after he learned that the Busch pole was his said, "This is our home. This is the place we need to run good. Man I'm telling you.... I am happy; I can't believe it!"

The driver that is sitting next to Bodine is Winston Cup series championship contender Dale Jarrett. "I had a good lap everywhere except for that last left hander," said Jarrett after climbing from the Quality Care Ford. "I just got to wide there and it probably cost us the pole." Jarrett's efforts snagged him a 73.253 second (120.253 mph) lap.

The drivers that round out the top-five are Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott and Wally Dallenbach.

Steve Park, in his second attempt to make his first Winston Cup race, will sleep well tonight after he qualified 12th making second round qualifying unnecessary for him. "After that failed attempt at Pocono we were pretty geared up to get a good run here," commented Park. "I like Watkins Glen and to have my first Winston Cup start here is pretty neat."

Ricky Rudd's time was only good for 28th fastest in today's qualifying session...not bad considering it was the first lap Rudd ran on the track in that particular car. Rudd, very late in morning practice, destroyed his primary car after backing into the turn 10 wall at an estimated 150 mph clip when his brakes failed. The impact was so hard that even the roof showed a buckle in it. Jim Long and crew jumped into action and got the backup ready for Rudd. Rudd will wait until tomorrow to decide if he will try to requalify for a better spot.... 26th or 27th at best.

Second round qualifying is set for tomorrow (Saturday) at 10:45 where time based positions 26 to 38 will be determined. Positions 39 to 42 will be based on provisional entrants.

Mike Snow -- The Auto Channel