Rusty Takes Challenge Pole

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) -- Rusty Wallace finally upstaged teammate Ryan Newman, winning the pole Friday night for the Nextel All-Star Challenge.
 Wallace finished three laps and a pit stop with an average speed of 130.647 mph. Drivers had a minimum speed of 45 mph on the entry into the pits, with no limit on the exit, and eight of the 22 drivers were caught speeding on their stops.
 Defending Nextel Cup champ Matt Kenseth was third, followed by Mark Martin and Tony Stewart.
 "I was hoping we'd get a real good pit stop, and the guys busted off a good one," Wallace said. "We had a good first lap, and the boys knocked a 12.40 second pit stop. That was super killer, and the hotrod ran really great."
 Newman, who has 21 poles in his four-year career, went out sixth and held the top spot for the next six cars. He averaged 130.347 on his run.
"Knowing Rusty, he wouldn't have run quite that hard if we weren't on the pole," Newman said. "I won't say it upsets me, but I'm not happy we're not No. 1."
 Dale Earnhardt Jr. was one of the drivers penalized 20 seconds for going too fast on pit road, and he'll start 15th.
 Dave Blaney, who's running only selected races for car owner Bill Davis in 2004, won the pole for the Nextel Open with a single lap of 185.058 mph. He was one of six Dodges in the top seven, edging Casey Mears.
The winner of the Open and another driver voted by the fans advance to the All-Star Challenge.
  "That's a good feeling," Blaney said. "A part-time racer can come in here and do a little good."
Jamie McMurray and Jeremy Mayfield followed Mears, with the Chevrolet of Ward Burton fifth.
 The all-star race won't have Bill Elliott in the field for only the second time ever.
  Elliott, won the event in 1986, the only year it wasn't held at Lowe's Motor Speedway, is running a partial schedule this season for Evernham Motorsports. He has made only two official starts this season -- he ran the Budweiser Shootout in Daytona -- with a best finish of 20th at Las Vegas.
 The other time Elliott missed the race was 1996, when he was injured. He's eligible this season because he won at Rockingham last fall.
"I don't think this is one of the races Bill wanted to run, but to be honest, we're having trouble putting funding together," said car owner Ray Evernham, who has rookie Kasey Kahne in Elliott's spot in the race.
Initially, Elliott planned to run about 12 races, but so far, Evernham hasn't been able to line up sponsors to back that effort. He indicated Elliott might have a deal for a few more races, but if not, he probably won't return until the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August.
Since the format of the Nextel All-Star Challenge lends itself to on-track incidents, Evernham couldn't afford to run Elliott without a sponsor.
"We can't be tearing up stuff in this race and having to absorb that ourselves," Evernham said.