DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 4, 2008) -- Dale Earnhardt Inc. swept the front row for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway.
Paul Menard put his No. 15 Menards/Vertis Chevrolet on the pole with a speed of 185.916 mph while teammate Mark Martin in the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet will start alongside.
Menard, who was the sixth car out, held on to the top spot to earn his first career pole in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
“This is obviously a good position to be in,” Menard said. “We didn’t focus on qualifying yesterday. All we did was draft practice, so I had no idea how we’d run by ourselves – obviously pretty good. This is same car that we ran at Talladega a couple of months ago and it was a really fast car there; we ran in the top-10 basically all day long.”
DEI continued their strong run Friday afternoon with Regan Smith and the No. 01 Principal Financial Group Chevrolet taking the top qualifying rookie honors with an eighth-place qualifying effort.
Earlier in the day, Martin made the big announcement that he will drive the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports in 2009 and make another run at competing for a Sprint Cup Series championship. It's a two-year deal for Martin. He will run full time in 2009 and a part-time schedule for 2010.
Other notable qualifying efforts include Tony Stewart (17th), Jeff Burton (23rd), Jeff Gordon (26th) and Jimmie Johnson (30th).
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joe Nemechek and Johnny Sauter rounded out the top-five with last year’s winner, Jamie McMurray, starting 40th. Scott Riggs and J.J. Yeley did not make the race.
Tickets and packages for the Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.