Nextel Cup veteran Dale Jarrett has recorded four top three finishes in the last seven races at the two-mile Michigan International Speedway and with the former series champion teetering precariously on the cusp of qualification for the end of year Chase for the Championship, fastest time in Friday practice bodes well.

Jarrett paced the second and final practice session of the afternoon with the quickest time of the day at 38.460secs around the wide-open D shaped oval in preparation for Saturday's Bud Pole qualifying session and Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400.

Jarrett, who has four career Nextel Cup wins at MIS, is currently 12th in the championship, three points out of the top ten.

Bud Pole qualifier par excellence Ryan Newman was second quickest with Joe Nemechek, who led the slower morning session, third.

Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five in final practice with Robby Gordon, the first of the 14 drivers attempting to race their into Sunday's field, in sixth.

Brian Vickers, Mike Bliss, Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch completed the top ten with Stuart Kirby an astonishing eleventh fastest in the #51 Competitive Edge Motorsport Chevrolet.

Dale Earnhardt Jr was a promising 12th quickest although for the two drivers who finished first and second in June's Batman Begins 400, there is still much work to do before qualifying. Winner Greg Biffle was 20th fastest although perhaps the biggest shock was the sight of Tony Stewart, whose second place finish in June signalled the start of his current streak of form, languishing back in 41st position.

Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon both struggled, with Johnson 26th fastest and Gordon 28th, after setting sixth fastest time in the morning session.

The four drivers in new machinery this weekend all set times fast enough to get them into Sunday's race safely with Tony Raines 18th quickest in the #37 Dodge, Jimmy Spencer 30th in the #66 Ford, John Andretti 31st in the #4 Chevrolet and Johnny Benson 34th in the #100 Chevrolet being fielded this week by Bill Davis Racing. On the flip side of the coin, Greg Sacks, Morgan Shepherd, Bryan Reffner, Carl Long, PJ Jones and Eric McClure will all have to find extra speed if they are to make the show.

 

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