BUSCH: Atlanta Friday Notes

Stihl Outdoor Power Tools 300 Thursday Notebook By Dave Rodman HAMPTON, Ga. (Nov. 5, 1998) Notes & quotes following Bud Pole Award Qualifying for Saturday's Stihl Power Tools 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway: BUCKSHOT JONES Buckshot Jones ...

Stihl Outdoor Power Tools 300 Thursday Notebook By Dave Rodman

HAMPTON, Ga. (Nov. 5, 1998) Notes & quotes following Bud Pole Award Qualifying for Saturday's Stihl Power Tools 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway:

BUCKSHOT JONES Buckshot Jones confirmed that passing up the NAPA 500 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race, which would have been his sixth NWC start of the season, was a tough decision. But in the end, Jones decided to maintain his rookie of the year eligibilit y for a full campaign in 1999. "We wanted to run the race, because we got to test here with our Winston Cup car and ran pretty good with it," Jones said. "But we weighed everything out and decided we didn't want to give up our rookie eligibility, and the extra test sessions that go wit h that.

"We're pumped about going Winston Cup racing. We're moving into our new shop (in Spartanburg, S.C.) in two weeks" NASCAR Busch Series point leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. showed his Atlanta potential early when he paced the first 30-minute practice session for the Stihl 300, which was held from 1:30 to 2 p.m. Earnhardt turned a lap of 29.770 seconds, an average speed of 186.228 mph, in his No. 3 ACDelco Chevrolet, the fastest of the 52 cars that practiced. Rounding out the top-five among the consistent group o f fast cars were Tony Stewart's Shell Oil Pontiac (185.859 mph), Matt Kenseth's Lycos.com Chevrolet (185.486), Mark Martin's Winn-Dixie Ford (184.272) and Dick Trickle's Schneider National Chevrolet (184.272). Tim Fedewa stopped the first, half-hour NASCA R Busch Series practice session when he lost control and slapped the wall in his Kleenex Chevrolet coming off the second turn. Fedewa went to a backup car, but with the compressed schedule could not get out in the second, 45-minute practice from 2:30 to 3 :15 and therefore did not make a qualifying attempt. Randy MacDonald wiped out Ed Whitaker's No. 7 3M Chevrolet on his qualifying lap when he lost control in Turn 2 and slammed the wall. MacDonald had been only 46th-quickest in the first practice at 176.5 49 mph. Later in the qualifying session, ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series regular Jeff Finley had another rough outing as he attempted to qualify for his NASCAR Busch Series debut. Finley spun in Turn 4 and hit the outside wall in his No. 79 Rensi Motorsports C hevrolet, ending the weekend for that vehicle. Finley had been 40th-quickest in the first practice, at 178.579 mph. Ken Bouchard got a phone call from Washington Erving Motorsports two days ago, and was in the team's No. 50 Dr Pepper Ford on Thursday. The team struggled to get the car up to speed, as the 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year turned only the 52nd-best lap in the first practice, then qualified 46th at 175.543 mph. Derrike Cope debuted Xpress Motorsports' No. 61 IWX Motor Freight Pontia c, a car that the team purchased from Labonte Racing. Cope was in the top-10 in both practice sessions, then was 25th-best in Bud Pole Qualifying at 183.236 mph.

JASON KELLER Jason Keller, whose team has struggled to find sponsorship throughout this season, picked up backing from race sponsor Stihl Outdoor Power Equipment for this event. The team was 16th in the first practice and 22nd in the second, but struggled in Bud Pole Qualifying, running the 36th- fastest lap, 181.467 mph. Bobby Hamilton Jr. won his first ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series pole position on Wednesday, then backed it up by qualifying 19th for the Stihl 300, his second career NASCAR Busch Series star t. Hamilton was at 183.710 mph in the Shoney's Inn Pontiac. Tracy Leslie practiced his own Beanie Racing Chevrolet, but opted not to make a Bud Pole Qualifying run. He will try to make the Stihl 300 in second-round qualifying on Friday. Other cars that di d not make attempts in pole qualifying included Tim Fedewa and Nathan Buttke, who was mired near the back of the sheets both practices, in the Mark III Financial Chevrolet. Mark Martin got some dispensation from NASCAR officials when morning rain pushed b ack the day's schedule. Martin was allowed to come forward in the qualifying line due to a 4 p.m. personal appearance he had scheduled. Martin asked for relief at 4:30 and was allowed to qualify, which resulted in a 10th place run for the Winn-Dixie Ford, at 184.917 mph. Lyndon Amick, who has campaigned Pontiacs all season, tried to qualify a SCANA/Myrtle Beach Chevrolet at AMS and turned in the 38th-best speed, 180.598 mph.

Source: NASCAR Online

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Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Derrike Cope , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Dick Trickle , Jason Keller , Buckshot Jones , Lyndon Amick , Nathan Buttke , Mark Martin