Davey Allison went to the front of the pack Saturday, taking the pole position for the Feb. 17 Daytona 500 with a lap of 195.955 mph.
Ken Schrader, who was trying for a record fourth consecutive pole in NASCAR Winston Cup racing's premier event, wound up eighth at 194.045, although Allison, who was the seventh of 49 qualifiers, had an anxious wait until Schrader went out third from the end."Anticipation is a killer, especially when you know there are guys back there like Ricky Rudd and Ken Schrader who have a habit of knocking people off the pole," Allison said.
"Streaks come an end sometime. Today, I'm just glad it was me that broke his."
Schrader shrugged off the disappointment. "Now I won't have to hear anything about that four pole stuff. I won't have to answer all those questions all week. ... I'm ready to race."
Allison, the elder son of three-time Daytona 500 winner Bobby Allison, won nine poles from 1987 through 1989, but failed to start from the front during the 1990 season.
His fast lap on Daytona International Speedway's 2.5-mile, high-banked oval was barely good enough to beat Ernie Irvan's 195.639. Allison got around the big track in 45.929 seconds, .074 seconds faster than Irvan.
Those two are the only drivers who have clinched starting positions in the 500-mile race. The rest of the 42-car lineup will be determined by the results of Thursday's two 125-mile qualifying races and by two more days of time trials.
"The car drove perfect around the racetrack," Allison said. "I couldn't ask for a better effort."
Allison, who will turn 30 on Feb. 25, started second in this race in 1987 and 1988. In the 1988 race, he wound up losing a dramatic late-race battle to his father. It was Bobby Allison's last victory before he was badly injured in a race crash and subsequently became a team owner.
Davey won his first Daytona 500 pole in his fifth try. It took his father 18 years to win a Daytona pole and 15 years to win the race for the first time.
"The wait, the hard work was very trying on him sometimes," Davey said. "Sometimes he'd be down here with a real shot to win it and something would happen to knock him out of the race and it would really bother him. He wanted to win here so bad, more than at any other racetrack. I think probably that feeling has carried over to me."
Allison credited his crew for solving the mystery of the carburetor restrictor plate, designed to reduce speeds at Daytona and Talladega speedways, NASCAR's fastest tracks.
It was something of a surprise that Allison was able to win the pole in a Ford Thunderbird, relegating Irvan's Chevrolet Lumina to second place.