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Ford 400 Qualifying
HOMESTEAD, Fla.Tony Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet, qualified 20th for Sunday's season-ending Ford 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"It was just a solid run," said Stewart, who toured the 1.5-mile oval in 31.061 seconds with an average speed of 173.851 mph. "We didn't go out there with the intention of getting the pole or anything. We just wanted to make a qualifying lap. Even though I didn't get that real fast lap, at least the car feels stable.
"We don't have to create magic this weekend," added Stewart, who as the point leader can clinch his second Cup Series championship with a ninth-place finish or better in Sunday's race. "We just have to go out and have a solid performance and the rest of it will take care of itself."
Stewart's Joe Gibbs Racing teammates - Bobby Labonte and Denny Hamlin - qualified 21st and 46th, respectively. Labonte clocked in at 31.065 seconds with an average speed of 173.829 mph. Hamlin crashed during his qualifying run. He earned the 43rd and final starting spot due to the #11 team's standing in car owner points.
Carl Edwards captured his second career pole position in his first full season of Nextel Cup competition with a time of 30.673 seconds at an average speed of 176.051 mph. He is third in points, 87 behind Stewart.
Jimmie Johnson, second in points and 52 markers behind Stewart, qualified 32nd with a time of 31.264 seconds at an average speed of 172.723 mph.
Greg Biffle, fourth in points and still mathematically eligible for the championship with a 102-point deficit, qualified seventh with a time of 30.859 seconds at an average speed of 174.989 mph.
Rounding out the top-five in qualifying were Ryan Newman (30.675 seconds at 176.039 mph), Kasey Kahne (30.700 seconds at 175.896 mph), rookie Kyle Busch (30.759 seconds at 175.558 mph) and Mark Martin (30.809 seconds at 175.273 mph).
Forty-eight drivers attempted to qualify for the 267-lap race. Those not making the cut in the 43-car field were Chad Chaffin, Mike Garvey, Derrike Cope, Carl Long and Morgan Shepherd.
As far as manufacturers went, Ford took the top spot thanks to Edwards' pole-winning mark, while Dodge was next best at the hands of Newman. Carrying the flag for Chevrolet was Busch.
The Ford 400 gets underway on Sun., Nov. 20 at 4:10 p.m. EST. NBC will carry live coverage of the event.