October 15, 2009

Yahoo! Qualification Story – Lowe's

Rain delayed practice and qualification, but NASCAR got the upper hand over Mother Nature. It really didn't make much difference, since the point leader and the driver chasing him will line up on the front row. There were plenty of surprises, however, so check out this week's Yahoo! qualification story (.pdf).

Johnson wins NASCAR Banking 500 pole

Jimmie Johnson backed up his fastest lap in practice with the fastest lap in time trials. His speed of 192.376 mph is the fastest this new body style has ever qualified for a race.

Our View When Johnson starts up front at Lowe's, he tends to finish there. He was the latest driver to win from the pole in the 2004 Coke 600 and that should make him a favorite.

Unfortunately, his "cookie-cutter" record this year is less than impressive, so fantasy owners will have to hold their collective breaths.

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Johnson fastest in Lowe's practice 1

Jimmie Johnson continues to do his best to intimidate the competition. In the brief 45-minute practice run Thursday evening, he posted the fastest lap of the field at 192.486 mph.

Our View Mark Martin wasn't too cowed, however. Second in the points, he posted the second fastest lap. Unfortunately, it was more than one mile per hour slower than his teammate at 191.401 mph.

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Burton believes Harvick is leaving

With more than a year remaining on his schedule, Kevin Harvick is already a lame duck. Teammate Jeff Burton expects that Harvick already has plans to leave at the end of the 2010 season, according to SceneDaily.com.

Our View It's hard to imagine this team can stay focused with this distraction, but Harvick has been running well lately. The imminent split between Kurt Busch and crew chief Pat Tryson also suggests Harvick and team can stay near the top of their game.

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Trucks: Piquet, Meira test went well

Monday's Craftsman Truck Series test for Nelson Piquet Jr. and Vitor Meira was delayed until Tuesday, but once on track both drivers performed well, according to team owner Tom DeLoach (at the Official Fan Club Nelson Piquet Web site).

Our View "I was really impressed with both drivers," DeLoach said. I anticipated that it would take a lot longer for them to get accustomed to the trucks once they started."

"We made some changes to the trucks in hopes to give each driver certain feelings in the truck, and they both explained exactly what feedback we were expecting. Both drivers have very impressive skill sets, and they really exceeded my expectations for the first time in a Camping World Truck Series Tundra."

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Gunselman team withdraws from Lowe's

The Larry Gunselman owned team that was to be piloted by Mike Wallace has withdrawn their entry from the NASCAR Banking 500 lineup, according to Jayski.com.

Our View That leaves 47 cars on the entry list to challenge for 43 slots. Past champions Terry Labonte and Bill Elliott are among the entrants, which makes if even tougher for independents to make the show this week. Stick with marquee starts.

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