Rain washes out Busch qualifying

Feb. 28, 2003 at 8:23 PM
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LAS VEGAS, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Greg Biffle, who won the series championship last season, has moved on to Winston Cup. Replacing him for Roush racing is Stanton Barrett, who will be on the pole for Saturday's Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Friday's qualifying session was rained out. Anytime that happens during the season's first four races, the starting order is set by owner points from the previous season.A Hollywood stuntman when not behind the wheel, Barrett is in his first year with Roush and driving a Ford Taurus.

"It's always nice to earn your merit for the weekend, but the crew earned it last year with the championship effort," Barrett said. "Thanks, Greg Biffle."

Rain fell for most of the morning in this desert city. The showers stopped long enough for the 1 1/2-mile banked superspeedway to be dried but began again just as teams prepared for their qualifying runs.

"I would have liked to have qualified," Barrett said. "We may not have had a shot at the pole, but we were definitely a top-five or -10 car."

Alongside Barrett on the front row will be the Ford of Jason Keller. However, the next two rows are made up of Chevrolet Monte Carlos.

On the second row will be Winston Cup star Kevin Harvick, who is taking advantage of Jeff Green's 2002 third-place finish, and Scott Wimmer. Mike Bliss and Brian Vickers are behind them.

"I thought we had a chance to sit on the pole, so it's a little disappointing," said Harvick, who won this sereis while finishing in the top 10 in the Winston Cup standings two years ago. "But it's hard to complain about starting third."

There are some prominent names back in the pack.

Starting 24th in a Dodge Intrepid is Jamie McMurray, who won last week's Rockingham 200 and is familiar with this track after testing his Winston Cup car here in January.

In Monday's race delayed two days by rain, McMurray led 192 of 197 laps as he won for the third time in his last six races. He is running a limited Busch schedule this season.

Behind him in a Chevrolet is Michael Waltrip, who won the Daytona 500 two weeks ago and also is competing in a handful of Busch races this year.

Defending champion Jeff Burton will start 30th in a Dodge. And Steve Park will start 36th in a Chevrolet.

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