FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- Ricky Rudd was struggling for a way to describe what it's like to drive on the repaved Texas Motor Speedway oval.
"Think about the wildest rollercoaster you've ever been on and that kind of gives you an idea of what it's like out there," Rudd said Friday after qualifying third for the Samsung/Radio Shack 500.
Led by Bill Elliott and Elliott Sadler, the top 12 drivers eclipsed the 2-year-old track record.
Elliott, the 42nd of 44 drivers to take to the 1 1/2-mile track, turned a lap of 194.224 mph, considerably faster than the record of 192.137 set by Terry Labonte.
"The circumstances played a big part here this afternoon," Elliott said. "There were a couple of crashes in turn one and it got a little bit overcast and a little cool and the car struck good, and that's what you've got to have."
Elliott's fast Dodge relegated a disappointed Sadler to the outside of the front row. Sadler, whose best previous starting position was fourth, had held the top spot for more than an hour after turning a lap of 193.071 in a Ford.
"That was tough," said Sadler, who admitted he was holding his breath, hoping for his first career pole. "Everybody knows the Wood Brothers haven't won a pole since 1984. I was about 9 years old at the time."
Sadler said Elliott, who earned his second pole of the season and the 53rd of his career, was certainly helped by long delays after crashes by Robby Gordon and Frank Kimmel during qualifying.
Elliott's record run came late in the afternoon, with the warm temperatures of the day starting to give way to the cool of the evening.
"When the 26 (Kimmel) wrecked, I looked at (car owner) Eddie (Wood) and said, 'It's all over now.' When the sun goes down, it gets a lot cooler and the cars get a lot faster," Sadler said. "I can't be too disappointed with it, though."
Elliott didn't disagree, saying he was hoping it would cool off by the time of his run.
"When we drew a late number, we knew that it could be a good thing," he said. "With Frank having his problem there in turn one, it was a good thing for us. That just meant it was a little better conditions."
Rudd's Ford followed Sadler with a lap of 193.016, exactly the same as the fourth-place Chevrolet of Michael Waltrip. In case of a tie, position in the season points determines the starting order.
Dale Jarrett, Rudd's teammate, and the defending race champion, earned the fifth spot with a lap of 192.967, the same as sixth-place Stacy Compton.
The rest of the record breakers were Jeremy Mayfield at 192.726, Mark Martin at 192.658, Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 192.486, Ricky Craven at 192.438, Steve Park at 192.342 and Ken Schrader at 192.321.
"They have done a great job resurfacing this track," Rudd said. "Not only have they resurfaced it, but the transition from the turns to the straightaways is different, too. That's something they've had problems with from the start, but the third or fourth time is apparently the charm.
"The cars really like it now. Now we've just got to see if we can race on it."
Both Gordon and Kimmel completed the first of two qualifying laps and escaped injury in their hard crashes. Gordon qualified 24th and Kimmel 32nd, but both drivers will have to start from the rear of the field after switching to their backup cars.
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