Vickers claims pole at Fontana

Feb. 20, 2009 at 10:34 PM
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FONTANA, Calif., Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Brian Vickers, who was involved in a controversial pileup during last week's Daytona 500, won the pole Friday for Sunday's running of the Auto Club 500.

Vickers turned in a lap of 39.250 seconds at the Auto Club Speedway to earn the sixth pole of his career.

"We had a good car in practice, but honestly I didn't think it was a pole car," Vickers said. "We were a little too tight. We made some changes after practice, which obviously worked well. That car was just on rails in qualifying."

With rain approaching at last Sundays' race in Daytona, Vickers blocked Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Earnhardt's bid to pass. Both cars were running a lap behind at the time.

Earnhardt then bumped Vickers, sending him out of control. The chain-reaction wreck took out several contenders for the title and the rain-shortened race was eventually won by Matt Kenseth.

Jimmie Johnson, one of those knocked out of contention by that wreck, will start next to Vickers Sunday after recording a lap of 39.309 seconds. Jamie McMurray and Kurt Busch will make up the second row. Kenseth will start 24th.

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