Atlanta rain sets starting line up by owner points

As the season runs down, owner points become critical in the outcome of the championship as once again NASCAR officials had to cancel the qualifying session and set the starting line up by owner points. The on-again, off-again rain at the Atlanta...

As the season runs down, owner points become critical in the outcome of the championship as once again NASCAR officials had to cancel the qualifying session and set the starting line up by owner points. The on-again, off-again rain at the Atlanta Motor Speedway made for a day of schedule changes and cancelations.

The Winston Cup teams were able to get in the first practice session on the track before a steady stream of misty showers arrived in the Atlanta area.

Tony Stewart, the current point leader, will sit on the Bud Pole with rookie Jimmie Johnson alongside him. The duo are followed by Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray and Rusty Wallace to round out the top five.

"Practice today probably did more than anything," said Stewart. "And it gives you a little bit of confidence knowing you've won here before, but the biggest thing is that this weekend counts right now. In this car, we were the second-quickest in practice, I'm going to have this confidence for the rest of the weekend."

Ryan Newman who leads the Rookie of the Year points and was fifth fastest in the practice session will start sixth.

Stewart had a good run in the practice session behind Bill Elliott, who was fastest at 190.055 miles per hour. Johnson did not have a good run in practice finishing a dismal twenty-first.

"This is probably one of my favorite tracks to compete," said Johnson. "So I'm really looking forward to the race. We finished 3rd here in the spring. That was our first top five. I'm really hoping that we're able to utilize the experience we've gained all year long and bring it together and put up a strong fight Sunday afternoon. We want to keep chipping away at the point lead that Tony (Stewart) has on us right now in the Winston Cup points."

Winston Cup final practice is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. Saturday morning.

As of Friday evening, weather radar shows a 40% chance of rain for Saturday.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Mark Martin