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March 28, 2008

The SBSC Car Has To Qualify Today To Race On Sunday

Martinsville has been described as

If you just can’t wait to see the SBSC logo running around a racetrack, you’ll be able to see Kenny Schrader’s #49 Toyota Camry with the Microsoft Small Business paint scheme later today during his qualifying run for the Goody’s 500 race this Sunday at Martinsville.

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned much is that Schrader does not have an automatic berth in Sunday’s race. Only the top 35 teams in owner’s points are guaranteed a spot. Everyone else has to qualify on time, which includes the #49 team.

Although this morning’s practice session is not being televised, live stats are available here. At the time of this posting, Schrader shows as 12th.

Quailfying starts at 3:40p Eastern time, on SPEED. I’ll be watching, just to see how good the car looks, and hear the quality of the sponsorship chatter.

But even if Schrader qualifies at that very same spot later today, he might still not make it into the race.

Here’s why…

The top 35 teams in owner points get automatic berths, as long as the cars can at least get around the track for one qualifying lap. There are only 43 slots for any race total. So that leaves a mere 8 spots for teams that qualify on time.

At the 12th spot, there could still be 8 other “go or go home” folks that qualify higher. In other words, Schrader needs to have at least the 8th fastest qualifying time among the “go or go home” drivers to make the race.

Looking at the practice list right now, there are definitely a few folks ahead of Schrader who are in the Top 35 already…

  • Denny Hamlin
  • Jimmie Johnson
  • Jeff Gordon
  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  • Kurt Busch
  • David Ragan

Make no mistake about it, Ken Schrader is a damn good driver who could use some better equipment. It’ll be interesting to see what he’s able to do with the new power that Toyota engine should give him.

Assuming he makes Sunday’s race, that is.

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