KANSAS CITY, KAN. Mike Skinner knows he might not keep the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career record for pole sittings over Jack Sprague, but he's already lining up his reasons if he doesn't.
"If he ends up with the record, my excuse is going to be because he's been in more races," Skinner said with a smile. "If I do it, then I'll just say we're good."
On Friday, Skinner's No. 5 truck wasn't just good at Kansas Speedway - it was best.
The 49-year-old had the fastest qualifying time for today's O'Reilly Auto Parts 250, recording his 28th career pole to pass Sprague on the all-time list.
Skinner's time of 31.437 seconds narrowly beat out second-place Rick Crawford, who finished .251 of a second behind.
"If you lay down the best lap you can and don't leave anything on the table, it's all you got," Crawford said. "It's all I had."
With a late driving time, Skinner was the beneficiary of some favorable conditions on the track.
"Most of the front stretch was shaded and we got a little bit of an overcast cover," Skinner said. "Just all of the elements - it all adds up in qualifying. We're splitting hairs.
"I think I was pretty lucky in that respect. I really kind of thought Rick was going to get this one."
Skinner - whose has not won an event this year - picked up his fourth pole in 11 starts.
"I'd trade it right now," Skinner said, "to run good in the race."
Skinner will also hope to change his fortunes at Kansas Speedway. Last year he finished fourth, losing valuable position after being penalized for speeding through pit road.
Ready to race
Today's schedule at Kansas Speedway: 12:45 p.m. - IRL qualifying for Sunday's Kansas Lottery Indy 300 2 p.m. - NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series O'Reilly 250 4:30 p.m. - ARCA/REMAX Kansas Lottery $200 Grand
"That's what I'm trying to instill in my mind for the weekend is just don't make any dumb mistakes," Skinner said. "If you lose the race, lose it because somebody had a better day than you. Don't lose it because you were stupid."
Todd Bodine - who won last year's race at Kansas Speedway - will start last after failing to pass the pre-qualifying inspection.
¢ Brad Coleman has perfected the transition from prom to pole.
Just 34 days after graduating from high school in Martinsville, Va., the 18-year-old picked up his second career pole at the Kansas Speedway, finishing first in the ARCA/REMAX Series qualifying with a 167.879 mph lap in 32.166 seconds.
"It's good to be out of high school," Coleman said, "so I don't have to worry about school for a couple of months."
Actually it will be a little longer than that for the ARCA rookie, who has decided to put off college - at least for now.
"Right now, I'm living my dream of a career in motorsports," Coleman said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You can always go to college, so right now I'm focusing all my efforts on racing."
The pole victory held some special significance for Coleman. He dedicated the race to his grandfather, who is recovering from a heart attack suffered last week.
Friday was also his grandmother's birthday.
"Today's a great day for my family," Coleman said.
In case you were wondering, Coleman was a participant at his high school's final dance.
"I did go to prom," he said. "I was lucky enough to have a beautiful girl go with me, so I had a good experience there."
¢ Danica Patrick will not be the only female busy on the racetrack this weekend.
Erin Crocker has chosen to serve double-duty today, participating in both the ARCA/REMAX race and also the NASCAR Craftsman Trucks Series race.
She finished third overall in the ARCA/REMAX qualifying with a 167.317 lap in 32.274 seconds.
"Tomorrow will be a little bit difficult back-to-back, especially in this heat," Crocker said, "but it's great for me. I need to see time and I need the experience, so here I am."