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Sharpie 500 Qualifying
BRISTOL, Tenn.Tony Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet, qualified sixth for Saturday night's Sharpie 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
"It's a little slicker," said Stewart about the .533-mile, high-banked oval. "Guys who had tight cars found that the track was coming to them a little bit, and guys who had loose cars - they're really loose now. We tried a couple of things at the end of practice and got our car too free. So, we'll put it back and get ready for tomorrow."
Stewart toured the track in 15.112 seconds with an average speed of 126.972 mph. Stewart's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate - Bobby Labonte - qualified 19th with a time of 15.203 seconds at an average speed of 126.212 mph.
The Sharpie 500 will mark Stewart's 200th career start. In honor of that milestone, The Home Depot is pledging $200 for every lap Stewart leads. And regardless of how the race unfolds, The Home Depot will donate a minimum of $20,000 to the Tony Stewart Foundation.
Jeff Gordon captured his 52nd career pole position and his sixth of the year with a time of 14.930 seconds at an average speed of 128.520 mph. Rounding out the top-five were Kasey Kahne (15.060 seconds at 127.410 mph), Sterling Marlin (15.074 seconds at 127.292 mph), Ryan Newman (15.075 seconds at 127.284 mph) and Jamie McMurray (15.098 seconds at 127.090 mph).
Forty-eight drivers attempted to qualify for the 500-lap race. Those not making the cut in the 43-car field were Hermie Sadler, Stanton Barrett, Brad Teague, Tony Ave and Ryan McGlynn.
As far as manufacturers went, Chevrolet took the top spot for the ninth time this season, while Dodge powered the rest of the top-five. Carrying the flag for Ford was seventh quick Mark Martin (15.115 seconds at 126.947 mph).
The Sharpie 500 gets underway on Sat., Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m. EDT. TNT will carry live coverage of the event.