FORT WORTH, Texas — Avoiding the controversy that dogged teammate Tony Stewart on Friday, Bobby Labonte grabbed the pole for the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Labonte took his second pole of the season and the 23rd of his career with a lap of 193.514 mph on the 1 1/2-mile Texas oval.
Labonte is off to a strong start, with three top-five finishes in his last three starts, including a win in Atlanta.
"One thing we brought with us today was confidence. Obviously, we ran good in Atlanta and we've run good here in the past, and we brought the same car we ran in Atlanta," he said.
Labonte had a quiet, almost uneventful day compared with his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate. Stewart, the defending Winston Cup champion, found himself starting from scratch after his primary car failed inspection and was impounded by NASCAR.
Stewart was forced to use his backup car, which his team rolled off the hauler and quickly prepared.
Greg Zipadelli, Stewart's crew chief said, "The car we have now is set up really similar to the car we had. We put our backup motor in, which is only a couple of horsepower off of what we had in the primary. We just changed a lot of things. There were a few little things we weren't able to change."
Despite the scramble, Stewart managed to qualify 22nd at 190.154.
PETTY IN ON SUNDAY: Kyle Petty got through NASCAR Winston Cup practice and qualifying Friday, but likely won't get back behind the wheel again at Texas Motor Speedway before Sunday's race.
After hitting a wall at Bristol last week, Petty needed help getting out of his car and was placed on a stretcher. He was treated and released from the hospital, but is still hurting.
"Kyle is pretty sore," said Steve Lane, crew chief of the No. 45 Georgia Pacific Dodge. "As for the race, I'm going to let him make the call. We're going to let Christian Fittipaldi practice the car Saturday."
JARRETT'S NEW LOOK: Dale Jarrett still isn't going to drive the big brown truck, but his No. 88 Ford has a new look. The UPS team unveiled a new paint scheme that utilizes the shipping company's new logo.
"It's something new, a sleeker look," Jarrett said. "Hopefully, this will bring some good fortune at a track that has been good for us in the past."
MISSING OUT: David Starr and Kerry Earnhardt were the two drivers who didn't make the 43-car field for the Samsung/RadioShack 500.
Starr, a regular on the NASCAR Craftsman Trucks series, was hoping to qualify for his first Cup race at the track where his family operates a driving school. Starr's qualifying lap of 187 mph was more than 6 mph slower than Labonte's pole speed.
Earnhardt's only Cup race was Aug. 20, 2000 in Michigan. The Busch Series regular attempted to start three races last season, but qualifying was rained out each time.