Wrecks, rain slows down Cup Dover practice

DOVER, Del. - Today's final practice for the Winston Cup teams has been cancelled due to inclement weather. "Happy Hour," which was set to get rolling at 11:10 a.m., was scrubbed after moderate rainfall began to pepper the onw-mile oval. Cup teams...

DOVER, Del. - Today's final practice for the Winston Cup teams has been cancelled due to inclement weather. "Happy Hour," which was set to get rolling at 11:10 a.m., was scrubbed after moderate rainfall began to pepper the onw-mile oval. Cup teams were able to complete all of this morning's practice, with Sterling Marlin charting the top speed at 154.752 mph.

Defending Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart was second fastest posting a lap at 154.513 mph. Kurt Busch, Bobby Labonte and defending race winner Jimmie Johnson round out the top five fastest times.

Despite a late practice crash that will force Joe Nemechek to roll out his back-up car, he was the seventh fastest man on the board.

"I think that one I've got to chalk up to driver error," said Nemechek. "We were in practice and went out and made some changes. We got our car really good there in Happy Hour, and I ran down a car, ran him down real quick.

"I started to go underneath him, and I don't know if he didn't know I was there or what, but all of a sudden he was coming down, which is a typical thing here at Dover. I should've known, but I just clipped the inside of the apron and it got me in a little bit of a slide, and I just ran out of room before I hit something."

The Busch Series pole sitter won't have that different of a view from his back-up machine. Nemechek had to take a provisional start, and was only rolling off from the 37th position. The car change will force him to the rear of the line-up.

Nemechek was not alone in on-track difficulties. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the No. 8 DEI Chevy backed the Monte Carlo into the wall on the back stretch almost at the end of the session.

Earnhardt was eleventh quickest before the incident. He is looking to rebound from a disappointing Memorial Day weekend where rear brake rotor woes scored him a 41rst place spot in the Coca-Cola 600 knocking him 160 points further from the top of the championship rankings.

The No. 8 Chevy was slated to take the green flag from the 12th position; Earnhardt is forced to move to his back-up car and will have to start from the back of Sunday's field.

Polesitter Ryan Newman was tenth fastest.

Things look grim for the Busch series Saturday as a huge storm cell moves into the great Delaware/Pennsylvania area promising 50 mile-an-hour winds and heavy rain. Weather has become an all too familiar topic in race weekend reports, as there has been some sort of a weather related hiccup in eight of the last twelve events.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Joe Nemechek , Sterling Marlin , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson