Mayfield fastest in Dover Happy Hour

Weather changed up the NASCAR Nextel Cup series schedule Saturday at Dover International Raceway. Persistent rain on Friday cancelled Busch and Cup qualifying and practice sessions. Cup cars took to the track Saturday morning for two practice ...

Weather changed up the NASCAR Nextel Cup series schedule Saturday at Dover International Raceway. Persistent rain on Friday cancelled Busch and Cup qualifying and practice sessions.

Cup cars took to the track Saturday morning for two practice periods, including "Happy Hour". Jeremy Mayfield turned the quickest lap in final practice with a 155.871 mph followed by Scott Riggs who turned a lap of 154.889 mph.

"It's not easy to pass at Dover," explained Riggs. "You come off the corners too fast and the wall comes at you quickly," said Riggs. "Your car has to be a lot better than the one in front of you to be able to pull lower than them and get a run.

"So getting your car tuned in early is important. If you spend half the race trying to find the right combination, you'll lose your chance to drive to the front."

Ricky Rudd was third with a lap of 154.885 mph.

Point leader Jimmie Johnson had the fourth fastest time with a 154.772 mph. Due to qualifying being rained out the field was set by owner's points placing Johnson in the top spot for Sunday's event.

"I'm real happy to start up front," Johnson said. "Hopefully we can get 5 points right off the bat. I've slipped in my qualifying skills lately, so it's good to get a pole, even though it's not an official pole, it's nice to have. And, we'll just take it from there.

"This has always been a great race track for me. I'll be in the Busch car and the Cup car and just really looking forward to it. It's always been one of my favorite tracks."

Mark Martin was fifth, at 154.606 mph. This is Martin's 37th start at Dover, a track where he has won four times.

"Dover has always been one of my favorite tracks," said Martin. "We've had great success there over the years, including last year when we were able to get a win in the spring and then go back and run second in the fall.

"The very first time I went to Dover, I loved it from the start. It is definitely in my list of top tracks and there probably is no cooler track to go and race on."

Elliott Sadler, Kasey Kahne, Bobby Hamilton, Jr., Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth complete the top ten.

"At this track it is so very, very important to have the car handling correctly," said Sadler. "The key to passing at Dover is getting a good run off the corner and making your move going down the straightaway.

"We are running extremely fast when we enter the corner so it is very tough to try and pass on entry unless you have a good run off the last corner. The car has to turn well and you have to be able to get into the throttle off the corner so you don't want to have to wait on the car."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Jeremy Mayfield , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Scott Riggs , Kasey Kahne , Elliott Sadler , Mark Martin