“Drive it like you stole it.” Wendy Venturini took the words on her shirt to heart and claimed the pole position for the second annual Better Half Dash during a wet and rainy qualifying session at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday.
Venturini, a motorsports analyst for SPEED Channel, outpaced Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins Pastrana, wife of NASCAR driver Travis Pastrana, by 0.069 seconds to claim the top spot in Thursday’s 25-lap charity Bandolero race around the frontstretch quarter-mile oval.
“We lead really busy lives in NASCAR and it’s fun to be able to come out here and do this,” Venturini said. “I’m proud to represent MRO and the ladies of NASCAR and show that this is not just for the boys.”
Monday night’s final practice was shortened due to rain, but not before track officials adjusted the schedule to move up qualifying. Each driver took two laps around the frontstretch quarter-mile oval, with the best lap time determining the starting order.
Final qualifying results:
1. Wendy Venturini – 20.913 sec.
(motorsports analyst for SPEED Channel)
2. Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins Pastrana – 20.982 seconds
(wife of NASCAR driver Travis Pastrana)
3. Jacquelyn Butler – 21.098 sec.
(fiancée of NASCAR driver David Ragan)
4. Adriene Pattie – 21.111 sec.
(wife of NASCAR crew chief Brian Pattie)
5. Michelle Gilliland – 21.175 sec.
(wife of NASCAR driver David Gilliland)
6. Ashley Allgaier – 21.272 sec.
(wife of NASCAR driver Justin Allgaier)
7. Kristen Yeley – 21.308 sec.
(wife of NASCAR driver JJ Yeley)
8. Melanie Self – 21.373 sec.
(representing Motor Racing Outreach)
9. Angie Dillner – 21.491 sec.
(wife of SPEED Channel’s Bob Dillner)
10. Katrina Childers – 21.707 sec.
(wife of NASCAR crew chief Rodney Childers)
11. Amy Gordon – 21.753 sec.
(wife of NASCAR crew chief Todd Gordon)
12. Patricia Driscoll – Did not qualify
(girlfriend of NASCAR driver Kurt Busch)
After qualifying on the pole, Venturini said her strategy for Thursday’s race is pretty simple.
“I don’t want to give up that lead,” she said. “I want to get up front and I want to stay up front.”
While the better halves take the wheel, their significant others will serve as crew chief and spotter for the race, but drivers and crew members are not permitted to make any engine, chassis or suspension modifications.
The winning driver will receive $10,000 to be paid to the charity (or charities) of her choice.
Updates on the race and entrants can be found at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or motorracingoutreach.com or by following #BetterHalfDash on Twitter.
In addition to the Better Half Dash on Oct. 11, Bojangles’ Pole Night will also feature NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying for the Bank of America 500, as well as the UNOH Southern Slam 150, the season finale for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
Tickets are $12 in advance or $20 on event day. Kids 13 and under get in free. Fans can reserve two frontstretch tickets to the Bank of America 500, with the best views of the world’s largest HDTV and all the action along pit road, for just $99. Tickets for all October races at Charlotte Motor Speedway can be purchased online atwww.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267).
For more information on the October races and other events, connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or become a Facebook fan at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.