crowd at AMS still cheers for "Awesome Bill from
Evoking screams from a hometown crowd, Bill Elliott bumped Rookie Ryan Newman off the Bud Pole and out of his long-standing first place-qualifying run with a time of 28.944 seconds, and a blistering 191.542 mph.
Elliott, being the 42nd car on the track only had to wait while four other cars attempted to dethrone him. The crowd waited as, the #99 of Jeff Burton, the #25 of Jerry Nadeau, the #97 car of Kurt Busch and the #23 car of Hut Stricklin made their qualifying attempt.
It was obvious from the roar of the crowd that "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville" still has plenty of fans at what could be considered his "hometown" track.
Elliott has five career wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway, having won one race in 2001 after a long winless drought it was evident in the expression on Elliott's face as he received the Bud Pole award was that he wouldn't mind at all taking home the trophy from a sixth win here.
Ryan Newman will start from the outside of the front row for the second week in a row, and rounding out the top 5 were Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch and Jimmy Spencer.
Bobby Labonte who won the fall race here in 2001 qualified in eighteenth position. Labonte, also with five wins here, always seems to run well at AMS, a trick brother Terry has yet to master, as he has never won in Atlanta. Terry starts just out of the top ten in the thirteenth spot and surely hopes this thirteen is a lucky one.
Harvick is back to the Busch series for RCR.
Chevrolet continues to struggle with the only two Chevy's in the top ten starting positions, one being that of the defending race winner Kevin Harvick in the 8th spot and Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the second row in third.
In a press conference called earlier today, Richard Childress Racing announced that Kevin Harvick would drive part time in the Busch series, and that he would pilot the #29 Sonic Chevrolet in the Busch race at Texas. Kevin said the Chevrolet he will race on Sunday has sixty points less downforce than the same car had last year. "That's a lot!" says Kevin who along with other top Chevy drivers Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt jr. are struggling in the points back in the mid twenties. "But it's early" says Harvick, who indicated that it would take time for NASCAR to "Even things out." I'm not a fan of the politics of this sport said Harvick, "now it's our (Chevy's) turn to complain and whine and whatever, till something is changed."
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