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JGR Qualifying Report - Golden Corral 500

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Date: March 17, 2006
Event: Golden Corral Qualifying
Series: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
Location: Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.54-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Kasey Kahne of Evernham Motorsports
JGR Lineup: J.J. Yeley (5th); Denny Hamlin (7th); Tony Stewart (21st) J.J. Yeley, driver of the #18 Husqvarna/Interstate Batteries Chevrolet, qualified fifth for Sunday's Golden Corral 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway to lead the three-car contingent of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We just wanted to go out there and make a good lap," said Yeley, who toured the 1.54-mile oval in 28.897 seconds with an average speed of 191.854 mph. "We were pretty tight in our first qualifying run in practice and then loose in the second, so I didn't know what to expect. But it was a great run and our car was probably too free to shoot for the pole there and overall we were pretty surprised to get a lap that good. They told me how fast that first lap was on the way down the backstretch and we didn't want to tear anything up and that's why we decided to shut it down and not finish the second lap." Stewart's Joe Gibbs Racing teammates - Denny Hamlin in the #11 FedEx Ground Chevrolet and Tony Stewart in the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet - qualified seventh and 21st, respectively. Hamlin clocked a time of 28.921 seconds with an average speed of 191.695 mph, while Stewart timed in at 29.195 seconds with an average speed of 189.896 mph. "I wanted to get in the 28's, but it was one of those deals where I felt like I could have run a lot faster," said Hamlin. "We have a brand new car here and it was excellent in race trim. It's untested and we came here and right off the truck it was perfect." "That's a lot better than what we ran in practice," said Stewart. "We kind of struggled today. We just worked on race runs and never got a chance to make a qualifying run. But we learned some things on our qualifying lap. In fact, I'd like to do it over if I could." Kasey Kahne captured his seventh career pole position with a time of 28.792 seconds at an average speed of 192.553 mph. Rounding out the top-five in qualifying were Ryan Newman (28.794 seconds at 192.540 mph, Jeff Burton (28.879 seconds at 191.973 mph), Bobby Labonte (28.888 seconds at 191.914 mph) and Yeley. Fifty-two drivers attempted to qualify for the 325-lap race. Those not making the cut in the 43-car field were Mike Garvey, Stanton Barrett, Chad Chaffin, Derrike Cope, Kenny Wallace, Travis Kvapil, Mike Skinner, Greg Sacks and Chad Blount. As far as manufacturers went, Dodge swept the front row via the times posted by Kahne and Newman. Chevrolet was next best at the hands of Burton, while Ford's best came via eighth-quick Greg Biffle (28.951 seconds at 191.496 mph). The Golden Corral 500 gets underway on Sun., March 19 at 1:30 p.m. EST. FOX will carry live coverage of the event.

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