Saturday, August 23, 2003

Gordon wins pole at Bristol



The Associated Press

BRISTOL, Tenn. - Jeff Gordon's frustrating pursuit of his fifth Winston Cup title took a positive turn Friday when he won the pole for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Gordon, quickest in the morning practice, pulled an early draw and turned a lap in 15.038 seconds around Bristol to break the event qualifying record of 15.292 seconds set by Rusty Wallace in 2000.

A brief thunderstorm then interrupted qualifying, and Gordon was positive his time wouldn't stand once the session resumed.

It almost didn't.

Mark Martin, one of the last cars to qualify, ran a lap at 15.039 seconds to just miss bumping Gordon off the pole.

Instead, they will start first and second in tonight's race.

"The whole day has been really great for us, but I didn't think that was my best lap," Gordon said. "And when that rain came, I thought for sure somebody was going to beat us."

Martin was pleased with his qualifying lap because his car has struggled in that phase most of the season. He has qualified inside the top 10 only four other times.

"It's a starting spot, and it sure beats starting in the back and the pit selection is horrendous," he said. "Just because we start up front doesn't mean we're going to avoid a nightmare."

Michael Waltrip qualified third, Mike Skinner was fourth and Kurt Busch, recipient of a Jimmy Spencer punch in the face last week in Michigan, qualified fifth.

Ricky Rudd qualified eighth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Winston Cup points leader Matt Kenseth rounded out the top 10.

Kenseth currently holds a 329-point advantage over Earnhardt in the standings and Gordon is in third, 461 points back.




FRIDAY'S PREP FOOTBALL
Mason 30, Lakota West 6
Middletown 48, Withrow 0
McNicholas 38, Turpin 29
Indian Hill 13, Ross 0
Roundup of Friday night's other prep football games
Photo Galleries: Mason/LWest | Midd/Withrow | McNick/Turpin
Scores, how poll teams fared

OTHER PREP SPORTS HEADLINES
Crosstown Showdown: Anderson puts win streak on line
St. Ursula tops national poll; Ursuline defends state title
Cautious approach to hot-weather practices pays off
Friday's results
Prep sports schedule

REDS
Reds 4, Astros 3
A reeling club loses its leader
Graves will return to bullpen

BASEBALL NOTES, ROUNDUPS
Oakland's Mulder has fracture in right hip
NL: Pujols plays, but hitting streak ends
AL: Orioles end Yankees' seven-game win streak

BENGALS
Thornton seeks his own identity
Ex-Bears Frazier, Fisher to clash as coaches

NFL
Dallas' QB saga to end next week
Bettis in unfamiliar spot on Pittsburgh's bench
Cardinals 27, Bears 17
Dolphins 30, Falcons 21
Vikings 21, Raiders 6
Patriots 24, Eagles 12

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Clarett suspended indefinitely
No. 7 Kansas State set to open vs. Cal
QB LoVecchio finds new life with Hoosiers
Husker facing 21 days in jail

MOTOR SPORTS
Gordon wins pole at Bristol
Helton is happy with current job
Tracy misses Molson pole

TENNIS
Williams sisters both on sidelines

GOLF
Toms, Riley atop NEC

HOCKEY
ECHL players announce strike

BASKETBALL
Dennehy's dad sues Baylor

ON THE AIR
This weekend's sports on TV, radio