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JGR Qualifying Report - Dover 400

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Date: Sept. 22, 2006
Event: Dover 400 Qualifying
Series: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
Location: Dover (Del.) International Speedway (1-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports
JGR Lineup: Tony Stewart (22nd); Denny Hamlin (23rd); J.J. Yeley (43rd) Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Six Flags/Home Depot Chevrolet, led the three-car Joe Gibbs Racing contingent by qualifying 22nd for Sunday's Dover 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Stewart turned a lap of 23.367 seconds at 154.063 mph on the 1-mile oval. "That wasn't very good. It was more me than it was the car," said Stewart. "On the first lap I didn't hit my marks and on the second lap it felt like the car was up on top of the track. But this car always races better than it qualifies." Stewart's Joe Gibbs Racing teammates - Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 FedEx Ground Chevrolet and J.J. Yeley in the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet - qualified 23rd and 43rd, respectively. Hamlin turned a lap of 23.368 seconds at a speed of 154.057 mph, while Yeley failed to post a time after crashing at the beginning of his qualifying lap. "We really fought handling in practice this morning, so to come out and here and pick up was good for this FedEx team," said Hamlin. "Starting 23rd is not exactly what we had hoped for and will probably hurt us a bit in terms of pit selection, but we'll be alright come Sunday." "As I came off of turn one, the car got real loose real early and caught me by surprise," said Yeley. "I haven't been loose-in since we've been here. The car was really comfortable and stable all through practice. It was just a little bit free coming off the corner. I kind of expected that because the race track normally frees up here. Obviously, it got a lot freer than I wanted to see it. We were starting to get loose and I jumped on the brakes trying to get hold of it, and I thought for a second I had a chance, but then it was all over with." Jeff Gordon captured his 55th career pole position with a time of 23.053 seconds at a speed of 156.162 mph. Rounding out the top-five in qualifying were Scott Riggs (23.068 seconds at 156.060 mph), Matt Kenseth (23.079 seconds at 155.986 mph), Ryan Newman (23.096 seconds at 155.871 mph) and Joe Nemechek (23.158 seconds at 155.454 mph). Forty-seven drivers attempted to qualify for the 400-lap race. Those not making the cut in the 43-car field were Morgan Shepherd, Kenny Wallace, Chad Blount and Donnie Neuenberger. As far as manufacturers went, qualifying was a model of parity. Chevy took the top spot thanks to Gordon's pole-winning mark while Dodge was next best at the hands of second-place Riggs. Carrying the flag for Ford was third-quick Kenseth. The Dover 400 gets underway on Sun., Sept. 24 at 1:10 p.m. EDT. TNT will broadcast the race live and in high-definition.

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