JGR Qualifying Report - 3M Performance 400

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Date: June 16, 2006
Event: 3M Performance 400 Qualifying
Series: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
Location: Michigan International Speedway (2-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Kasey Kahne of Evernham Motorsports
JGR Lineup: J.J. Yeley (14th), Tony Stewart (17th), Denny Hamlin (21st) J.J. Yeley, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet, qualified 14th for Sunday's 3M Performance 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway to lead the three-car contingent of Joe Gibbs Racing. Yeley turned a lap of 39.278 seconds at a speed of 183.309 mph on the 2-mile oval. "It wasn't a bad lap," said Yeley. "Thankfully Steve (Addington, crew chief) and the guys tightened the car up a bunch from our previous qualifying attempt. I got through (turns) one and two really, really well and was kind of excited going down the back straightaway. Just as I rolled into (turn) three I started turning the wheel and the car got a little bit free. It was nothing major, but it was enough that it kept me from turning the wheel and picking up the throttle and trying to get that momentum to the checkered flag. But all in all, it was a pretty decent run." Yeley's Joe Gibbs Racing teammates - Tony Stewart in the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet and Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 FedEx Express Chevrolet - qualified 17th and 21st, respectively. Stewart turned a lap of 39.399 seconds at 182.746 mph while Hamlin timed in at 39.480 seconds with a speed of 182.371 mph. "We had a decent lap," said Stewart. "We spent most of practice in race trim and really only made a couple of mock qualifying laps. The car is good. It has a good balance, so it's giving us plenty to work with. We'll make it better in practice tomorrow and get it ready for Sunday." "It's a pretty decent pickup (from practice)," said Hamlin. "It didn't put us in the top-20, though. It's kind of disappointing, but at the same time we did pick up a lot. We made the car 50 percent of where it needs to be in race trim tomorrow. This is our Texas car. It really doesn't qualify all that well, but it does race well and that's the most important thing. Our car was loose today. We can always make it tighter, but it's really hard to make it looser, so I'm pretty excited about that." Kasey Kahne captured his 10th career pole position and his fourth of the season with a time of 38.784 seconds at a speed of 185.644 mph. Rounding out the top-five in qualifying were Jeff Gordon (38.805 seconds at 185.543 mph), Brian Vickers (38.920 seconds at 184.995 mph), Jimmie Johnson (38.931 seconds at 184.943 mph) and Bobby Labonte (38.959 seconds at 184.810 mph). Forty-seven drivers attempted to qualify for the 200-lap race. Those not making the cut in the 43-car field were Carl Long, Mike Garvey, Chad Chaffin and Jimmy Spencer. As far as manufacturers went, Dodge book-ended the top-five thanks to Kahne's pole-winning mark and the fifth-place effort of Labonte. Chevrolet nabbed spots two through four via Gordon, Vickers and Johnson. Ford's best came at the hands of eighth-quick Mark Martin (39.129 seconds at 184.007 mph). The 3M Performance 400 gets underway on Sun., June 18 at 1:40 p.m. EDT. FOX will carry live coverage of the event.

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