Cale Yarborough won the pole position yesterday for Monday's Firecracker 400, breaking the qualifying record on the steaming Daytona International Speedway track in the process.
With the sun and steamy humidity pushing temperatures into the 90s during the morning qualifying, Yarborough drove a new Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS to a lap of 196.635 mph over the 2.5-mile, high-banked oval.
The record of 194.721, set a year ago by Geoff Bodine in a Pontiac Grand Prix, was broken three times.
Joe Ruttman did it first, lapping his Monte Carlo in 196.580, which eventually gave him the second starting spot and outside pole. Terry Labonte, who went out just moments before Yarborough, took the third spot on the 40-car grid in a Monte Carlo at 194.843, while Benny Parsons was fourth fastest in a Chevy at 194.620.
Other qualifiers included A.J. Foyt in sixth position, defending champion Bobby Allison in 14th and David Pearson in 16th.
Richard Petty, two-time Firecracker 400 winner and seven-time Daytona 500 winner, was not among the top 20 and will have to qualify at today's time trials determining the last 20 starting positions.
Hurley Haywood, part of the team that won the 24 Hours of LeMans in June, drove a Porsche Turbo 935 to the pole with an average of 127.603 mph for tonight's Paul Revere 250 sports car race at Daytona. Emory Donaldson was next in a Chevrolet-powered March 83G prototype at 126.199 mph . . .
Mario Andretti won the pole for today's Cleveland 500 Indy car race with an average speed of 121.443 mph. Starting next to him will be rookie Al Unser Jr., who had an average speed of 120.709; on the second row will be defending champion Bobby Rahal (120.377) and Teo Fabi, Indy 500 pole winner (120.301).