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Bobby Labonte on Pole for Sunday's Miller 500

31 May 1997

DOVER, DE -- It will be Bobby Labonte that takes the field to green in Sunday's Miller 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race. Labonte toured the one mile high-banked concrete circuit with a time of 23.562 seconds at 152.788 miles per hour.

"This car really stuck", said Labonte after his run. "The crew did a great job. We had to do a little chasing on it today because it wasn't quite right when we got here. We worked on it and worked on it and we really got it (dialed in) towards the end of the last practice."

Labonte pointing to the Interstate Batteries Pontiac said, "This is old number nine. We brought it out of retirement for this race so maybe it'll do good for us Sunday."

The outside pole sitter, Jeff Gordon said, "I felt like I was dirt tracking it up off the corner. We made some changes that helped get us a little more RPM." Gordon's time for his 'dirt track' run was 23.709 seconds at 151.841 miles per hour.

The drivers that will round out the top-five are Kyle Petty in the Hot Wheels Pontiac, Joe Nemechek in the BellSouth Chevrolet and as a surprise with his best qualifying effort of the 1997 season, Dave Marcis in the Realtree Chevrolet.

An excited Marcis said, "It was a good lap. The car worked good. We're just tickled to death. I know the folks at Realtree are going to be real happy. It was one of those perfect laps that you're always after."

There were several drivers that lost cars during the morning practice session at Dover. Sterling Marlin, Billy Standridge and Morgan Shepherd were all force to take the backups off their teams trailers.

The top-25 are locked into their positions for the start of the Miller 500. Second round qualifying to round out the field is scheduled for tomorrow at 11:30 AM.

The Miller 500 will be run Sunday, June 1st and will be carried live by TNN TV and MRN Radio.

Mike Snow -- The Auto Channel