Qualifying washed out in Atlanta

Mother Nature put a damper on NASCAR Nextel Cup series qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday. A steady and persistent rain forced the cancellation after it became clear there would be no weather window to allow time trials to commence and...

Mother Nature put a damper on NASCAR Nextel Cup series qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday. A steady and persistent rain forced the cancellation after it became clear there would be no weather window to allow time trials to commence and finish.

As is the procedure for NASCAR, the field will be set according to points putting Matt Kenseth on the pole alongside Kevin Harvick.

"Atlanta is a great track," described Kenseth. "It's fast and there's plenty of room to pass. The track has a lot of grip and you can run high or low, basically wherever your car is working best at the time. We've had some decent runs there in the past and we've had some bad ones there as well. Earlier this year, we had a pretty good car but got a little too aggressive with the setup and had some tire problems. But, we've learned from that and hopefully this time we'll be able to compete for a top-five finish.

"The championship is still wide open. Yes, we're leading and that's definitely better than the alternative, but we have to start running better or we'll see it slip away. Usually, the mile-and-a-half tracks are good to us, but we've struggled in the last two at Kansas and Lowe's. We'll need to turn that around if we're going to get the job done down the stretch."

The rest of the top ten will line up with Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch.

"The asphalt they have used is older technology and it is real abrasive and chews the tires up," Johnson explained about Atlanta Motor Speedway. "Handling is a premium. The pace slows down so you can run side by side and you can look for other lanes to race in. That really makes for good racing. I think the new tracks, and Charlotte is a good example of it, they almost did too good of a job.

"The asphalt is so smooth and tightly compacted we have to run an extremely hard tire, the tire never gives up and we run qualifying laps all night long. We run side by side and it is hard to pass. Atlanta is a great track. Some day they are going to have to resurface it and we will be faced with issues of a new surface there. But right now it has aged perfectly. It is probably is one of the best places to challenge drivers."

Kenseth currently leads the standings by 36 points.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin