NASCAR report: Five drivers to watch - East Valley Tribune: Sports

NASCAR report: Five drivers to watch

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Posted: Friday, April 21, 2006 4:54 am | Updated: 4:40 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Dodge, Evernham Motorsports

Is there a hotter driver in the series? Kahne has won two of the past four races, including the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 on April 9 at Texas.

He shot into a tie for third with Mark Martin in the driver standings. He starts 22nd in Saturday's Subway Fresh 500.

Tony Stewart, No. 20 Chevrolet, Joe Gibbs Racing

The defending Nextel Cup champ won April 2 at Martinsville and qualified third for Saturday's race at one of his favorite tracks. Vegas made Stewart the betting favorite at 7-1.

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports

Is this guy driving like a champion? He leads the points race (1,063) by 15 over Matt Kenseth. He's won twice (Daytona, Las Vegas) while his crew chief Chad Knaus was suspended and he has four finishes of third or better. He starts 10th on Saturday.

Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Ford, Roush Racing

He won in California on Feb. 26 and is chasing Johnson for the points lead. He's been the best of the five-car Roush stable. He starts fourth Saturday.

Kyle Busch, No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports

He won the Checker Auto Parts 500 last fall at PIR and he's on the pole for Saturday's race. Vegas oddsmakers had him at 12-1. Those odds seem too long.

THURSDAY'S RESULTS

Qualifying for Subway Fresh 500

1. (5) Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 133.744 mph.

2. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 133.383.

3. (20) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 133.299.

4. (17) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 133.205.

5. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 133.028.

6. (11) Denny Hamlin, Chevrolet, 132.846.

7. (2) Kurt Busch, Dodge, 132.817.

8. (07) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 132.587.

9. (1) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 132.523.

10. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 132.397.

11. (8) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 132.363.

12. (42) Casey Mears, Dodge, 132.163.

13. (12) Ryan Newman, Dodge, 132.163.

14. (25) Brian Vickers, Chevrolet, 132.120.

15. (29) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 132.081.

16. (14) Sterling Marlin, Chevrolet, 132.076.

17. (88) Dale Jarrett, Ford, 131.955.

18. (6) Mark Martin, Ford, 131.878.

19. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 131.830.

20. (38) Elliott Sadler, Ford, 131.781.

21. (43) Bobby Labonte, Dodge, 131.738.

22. (9) Kasey Kahne, Dodge, 131.714.

23. (66 Jeff Green, Chevrolet, 131.685.

24. (10) Scott Riggs, Dodge, 131.675.

25. (7) Robby Gordon, Chevrolet, 131.608.

26. (26) Jamie McMurray, Ford, 131.483.

27. (21) Ken Schrader, Ford, 131.368.

28. (19) Jeremy Mayfield, Dodge, 130.942.

29. (40) David Stremme, Dodge, 130.857.

30. (18) J.J. Yeley, Chevrolet, 130.842.

31. (78) Kenny Wallace, Chevrolet, 130.458.

32. (01) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, 130.416.

33. (4) Scott Wimmer, Chevrolet, 130.416.

34. (41) Reed Sorenson, Dodge, 130.321.

35. (95) Stanton Barrett, Chevrolet, 130.114.

36. (96) Tony Raines, Chevrolet, 130.077.

37. (31) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 129.814.

38. (45) Kyle Petty, Dodge, 129.478.

39. (32) Travis Kvapil, Chevrolet, 129.320.

40. (02) Brandon Ash, Dodge, 128.842.

41. (22) Dave Blaney, Dodge, Owner Points

42. (55) Michael Waltrip, Dodge, Owner Points

43. (49) Brent Sherman, Dodge, 128.576.

Failed to qualify

44. (34) Chad Chaffin, Chevrolet, 128.429.

45. (51) Mike Garvey, Chevrolet, 128.191.

46. (92) Chad Blount, Dodge, 127.886.

47. (61) Kevin Lepage, Chevrolet, 127.782.

48. (89) Morgan Shepherd, Dodge, 127.510.

49. (52) Steve Portenga, Dodge, 127.047.

QUOTABLE

“It seems like the Young Jedi (Kyle Busch) has done well. He learns quick. He's putting all his knowledge from his own team and what I've given him to work. He's got the fastest car in the county today.”

KURT BUSCH, NEXTEL CUP DRIVER, ON HIS BROTHER KYLE, WHO WON THE POLE FOR SATURDAY'S SUBWAY FRESH 500

— Compiled by Michael Welton and Sam Ganczaruk

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