Stewart not qualifying like a rookie By Shawn A. Akers HAMPTON, Ga. (March 12, 1999) Rookies aren't supposed to qualify this well, are they? If you're Tony Stewart, you've got to like what you've seen in that area so far this season. Stewart,...
Stewart not qualifying like a rookie By Shawn A. Akers
HAMPTON, Ga. (March 12, 1999) Rookies aren't supposed to qualify this well, are they? If you're Tony Stewart, you've got to like what you've seen in that area so far this season.
Stewart, who sat on the outside of the front row for the season-opening Daytona 500 back in February, put his No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac in the third position for Sunday's Cracker Barrel 500 after a fast lap of 194.192 mph during Bud Pole Qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday.
Only Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Bobby Labonte (the Bud Pole winner at 194.957 mph) and Mike Skinner (194.226 mph) were faster than Stewart on Friday.
"We knew we had a decent car," said Stewart, the 1997 Indy Racing League champion. "We were a little worried with the heat changing and whether the track would slow up or not. We made some changes and had a better car than we did in practice.
"All the guys did a great job getting the right setup on it. The thing I'm looking at is how we're performing. We've run well everywhere we've went so far. I'm happy with everything right now."
In his other two qualifying efforts this season, Stewart qualified 20th at both Rockingham and Las Vegas. This being the fourth race of the season, and with Stewart sitting in the 25th position in the standings, he is now able to rely on owner's points as far as provisionals from here on out for the remainder of the season.
For the first four races of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series season, new teams don't have owner's points to fall back on.
Stewart is looking for his first top-10 finish of the season. He finished 28th at Daytona, 12th at Rockingham, and 36th at Las Vegas.
This is Stewart's second effort in a stock car at Atlanta. He qualified fourth and finished third in last fall's NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division Stihl 300, so Atlanta is becoming one of his favorite tracks on the circuit.
"We're happy with it," Stewart said. "I'm just happy to get this thing in the show. This is a big race for Home Depot. Their headquarters is in Atlanta, so we want to run a good race for them."
Source: NASCAR Online