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NASCAR WCUP: Local Hero Pardus Fastest in Second-Round Qualifying

17 October 1998

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- During Friday's Bud Beer Second-Round Qualifying, Daytona Beach native Dan Pardus was the fastest of seven cars to attempt to better the time they set during first-round qualifying on Thursday. Pardus, who will make his first career NASCAR Winston Cup Series start in tomorrow night's Pepsi 400, drove his No. 07 Midwest Transit Chevrolet to a time of 47.382 seconds, for an average speed of 189.946 mph.

Bobby Labonte captured the pole for Saturday's 400-mile event during Thursday's Pepsi 400 Pole Night. Labonte grabbed the top spot in his No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac with a lap of 193.611 mph. Jeff Burton will line up second, while two- time Daytona 500 champion Dale Jarrett will start third. NASCAR Winston Cup champions Terry Labonte and Dale Earnhardt will round out the top five.

"We really gambled by going back out," said Pardus. "I didn't want to really go back out, but the owner said he didn't want the same thing to happen to us this week that happened last week (Pardus missed the field at Talladega last week after he stood on his first-round qualifying speed). I think I got mad. I went out there and gave it the hardest two laps that we could do. It really paid off. We turned one heck of a lap, I really don't where it came from.

"It means a lot to me to race at Daytona. I sold papers up in those stands when I was 12 years old. I always thought I could race out here some day and today here we are. Starting this race tomorrow night will be the happiest moment of my life. Starting this race here tomorrow will be like winning it for us."

"Daytona at the Speed of Light," will culminate with one of the most anticipated NASCAR events in history, the inaugural nighttime running of the Pepsi 400 on Saturday at 8 p.m.

Although grandstand seating is sold out for the 1998 Pepsi 400, other options available to fans wishing to experience "Daytona at the Speed of Light" include infield tickets. For more ticket information, call the Speedway Ticket Office at (904) 253-7223 or visit