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Carpentier wins first career pole at New Hampshire

Jun 27, 2008 - 11:25 PM LOUDON, New Hampshire (Ticker) -- Patrick Carpentier recorded his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole Friday by taking the top spot for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Carpentier, who will make his 17th career Cup start Sunday, qualified his Dodge in 29.349 seconds at an average speed of 129.776 miles per hour.

A Quebec native in his first full season on the Sprint circuit, Carpentier was the 17th driver to qualify after thunderstorms came through the area, delaying the event after 23 other drivers already had finished their times.

"It's amazing," Carpentier said. "The car was great. We made a couple of changes from this morning and the car just rotated beautifully through the middle of the corner. It was just stuck on the track. I'm real happy."

Carpentier's best previous Sprint Cup start was fourth last month at Richmond.

The rain began while series points leader Kyle Busch, the 24th driver in the 45-car qualifying line, was on the mile oval. He completed one lap that was good for 16th best at that point before officials called him in.

The time trials were delayed for 1 hour, 54 minutes before resuming with Busch given a second chance to qualify, this time on a dry track. He was quicker, but still wound up 27th overall.

A two-time race winner in the IndyCar Series, the 36-year-old Carpentier will be joined on the front row by veteran Bobby Labonte, who qualified second with a speed of 129.059 mph in a Dodge.

"I was pleasantly surprised," Labonte said. "I didn't think it was going to be that fast with the track conditions what they were, so we're excited to get a good lap and get a good starting spot."

It is the 44-year-old Labonte's best starting position this season.

The Chevrolets of Kevin Harvick and Scott Riggs make up the second row while Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Chevy) and Reed Sorenson (Dodge) comprise the third row.

Harvick, who won the second race here two years ago, is in 13th place in the series standings - two points out of the Chase for the Cup.

Defending race winner Denny Hamlin qualified 12th in a Toyota.

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