Mears wins NASCAR pole

July 30, 2004 at 7:51 PM

LONG POND, Pa., July 30 (UPI) -- Casey Mears won the pole Friday for Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 with a lap of 171.720 miles per hour around the 2.5-mile track.

It was the first pole in Mears' Nextel Cup career. He was the 16th different pole winner in the last 17 races at Pocono.

Starting on the outside of the front row will be Joe Nemechek while Kurt Busch and Sterling Marlin will make up the second row.

Series leader Jimmie Johnson will start 14th. He is 165 points in front of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who will start 16.

Earnhardt, who suffered second-degree burns two weeks ago, plans to drive the entire race Sunday. John Andretti will be on standby in case Earnhardt cannot make it.

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