JGR Qualifying Report - Subway 500

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Date: Oct. 20, 2006
Event: Subway 500 Qualifying
Series: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Pole Winner: Kurt Busch of Penske Racing
JGR Lineup: Denny Hamlin (3rd); Tony Stewart (5th); J.J. Yeley (36th) Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Freight Chevrolet, led the three-car Joe Gibbs Racing contingent by qualifying third for Sunday's Subway 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Hamlin turned a lap of 19.484 seconds at 97.187 mph on the .526-mile oval. "I'm pretty happy with that," said Hamlin. "I felt like I hit the lap pretty good. I didn't overdrive like I did here in the spring." Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing teammates - Tony Stewart in the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet and J.J. Yeley in the No. 18 IMITREX® (sumatriptan succinate) Chevrolet - qualified fifth and 36th, respectively. Stewart turned a lap of 19.514 seconds at a speed of 97.038 mph, while Yeley timed in at 19.872 seconds with an average speed of 95.290 mph. "We picked up a lot (from practice), which is good," said Stewart. "We tried some stuff in practice that didn't work well. But you've got to do those things. If you don't do things to try and make yourself better, you don't get any better. We put back on what we knew would work, and I'd like to go re-run (the lap) again and make one little adjustment because we'd definitely go faster and have a shot at the pole. But I'm really happy. Zippy (crew chief Greg Zipadelli) and the guys did a good job getting it back together and we're really good in race trim." "The IMITREX Chevy was probably a lot better than what that lap was," said Yeley. "I think it's so easy to overdrive a car here. We fought being too tight in our mock qualifying run, so I made sure that I just backed my entry up. I think I just scrubbed way too much speed. I think it's easy to do here. The car handled a lot better than I really expected it to, especially turning through the center of the corner. I just didn't push the car hard enough." JGR's satellite team - Hall of Fame Racing - enjoyed a strong qualifying effort at Martinsville. Tony Raines, driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet, posted the 11th-fastest time at 19.646 seconds with a speed of 96.386 mph. This is the best starting spot ever for the first-year team, as Raines topped his previous best of 12th, logged at Martinsville in April. Kurt Busch captured his 10th career pole position and his sixth of the season with a time of 19.408 seconds at a speed of 97.568 mph. Rounding out the top-five in qualifying were Jeff Gordon (19.446 seconds at 97.377 mph), Hamlin, Ryan Newman (19.498 seconds at 97.163 mph) and Stewart. Fifty drivers attempted to qualify for the 500-lap race. Those not making the cut in the 43-car field were Mike Bliss, Hermie Sadler, Chad Chaffin, Morgan Shepherd, Ted Christopher, Derrike Cope and Stanton Barrett. As far as manufacturers went, Dodge took the top spot thanks to Busch's pole-winning mark while Chevrolet took positions two, three and five via Gordon, Hamlin and Stewart. Carrying the flag for Ford was 10th-quick Ken Schrader (19.635 seconds at 96.440 mph) The Subway 500 gets underway on Sunday, Oct. 22 at 12:30 p.m. EDT. NBC will broadcast the race live and in high-definition.

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