Talladega:Dario Franchitti, in his first official day in a stock car, qualified sixth on Thursday for the RE/MAX 250 on the second-tier Automobile Racing Club of America developmental series at Talladega Superspeedway.
The reigning IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner, who this week signed a multiyear contract to drive for Chip Ganassi Racing in the top-tier National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) Nextel Cup series.
"My initial impression of Talladega was from two years ago when we were flying to Nashville and we went off course because of the weather," said the Scot, who lives in Tennessee with actress wife Ashley Judd. "We flew over the track, and it was just huge.
"Everything about Talladega is big. The banking is big, the track is big. We flew in last night, and it was just getting dark and all the lights were on, and again it was, 'Oh my God, look at the size of that track.' It's an intimidating place."
But Franchitti didn't appear to be intimidated by the 4.3-kilometer oval as he posted a lap of 52.117 seconds. The pole went to Bryan Clausen, a developmental driver for Ganassi, in 51.807 seconds.
Scott Speed, another open-wheel driver making the move to stock cars, was right behind Franchitti in seventh at 52.191.
Speed, the only American racing in Formula One before losing his ride with Scuderia Toro Rosso, has announced plans for a full-time ARCA schedule in 2008.