JGR Qualifying Report - Food City 500

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Date: March 24, 2006
Event: Food City 500 Qualifying (rained-out)
Series: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (.533-mile oval)
Pole Winner: None (2005 Car Owner Points Used to Determine Starting Grid)
JGR Lineup: Tony Stewart (1st); J.J. Yeley (24th); Denny Hamlin (33rd); By virtue of the #20 team's standing in 2005 car owner points, Home Depot Chevrolet driver Tony Stewart will start Sunday's Food City 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway from the pole as Friday's qualifying session for the 500-lap race was rained-out. "It sure makes your day a lot easier if you can start up front and stay there during the race," said Stewart. "Track position is a big deal at Bristol because it's so hard to pass. So when I woke up this morning and saw that it was raining... while most other people were annoyed with the weather I was actually pretty happy with it. Granted, I would've been more than happy to go out there and earn a good starting spot, but if rain puts me on the pole, so be it." The two-time and reigning Nextel Cup champion will lead the three-car Joe Gibbs Racing contingent at Bristol. His teammates - J.J. Yeley, driver of the #18 AsthmaControl.com/Interstate Batteries Chevrolet and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Chevrolet - will start 24th and 33rd, respectively. Greg Biffle will start the Food City 500 in second, while Carl Edwards will line up behind Stewart. Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon comprise the rest of the top-five, with Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Kurt Busch and Jeremy Mayfield rounding-out the top-10. Fifty drivers showed up at Bristol to make a qualifying attempt, but with rain washing out qualifying, only the top-35 teams in 2005 car owner points were guaranteed a starting spot. As a result, those not making the cut in the 43-car field were Kenny Wallace, Mike Garvey, Mike Skinner, Derrike Cope, Morgan Shepherd, Chad Blount and Chad Chaffin. As far as manufacturers went, Stewart's Chevrolet takes the top spot while Ford is represented by Biffle. Carrying the flag for Dodge is Newman. The Food City 500 gets underway on Sun., March 26 at 1:40 p.m. EST. FOX will carry live coverage of the event.

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