Title contenders struggle in qualifying

Oct. 26, 2007 at 10:23 PM
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HAMPTON, Ga., Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Greg Biffle won the pole Friday for Sunday's Pep Boys Auto 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, but drivers battling for the championship struggled.

Only one of the 12 drivers eligible for the year-long points title finished among the top five in qualifying.

Biffle turned in a lap around the 1.5-mile circuit in 28.807, while Kurt Busch was second in 28.811. Busch is 10th in the "chase for the championship."

"A first for Atlanta, a first for the season," Biffle said. "I'm kind of surprised we don't have a pole here."

Points leader Jeff Gordon qualified eighth, while Jimmie Johnson -- who will begin Sunday's race 53 points behind Gordon -- qualified sixth.

Dale Jarrett and Kasey Kahne will make up the second row.

This is the seventh in a series of 10 races that will determine the series champion, and Gordon has two victories in the first six. Johnson made up ground, however, with a victory last week at Martinsville.

Clint Bowyer is third in the chase, 115 points behind Gordon.

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