Hamilton Qualifies 30Th At California

FONTANA, Calif. – Bobby Hamilton and his No. 55 Schneider Electric Chevy team will have a bit of work to do Sunday in the NAPA Auto Parts 500 at California Speedway.

Par for the course for Hamilton over his career at California, the veteran driver struggled in his qualifying effort at the two-mile Roger Penske-owned track Friday. He turned a best lap of 183.659 mph and will start 30th on the grid Sunday.

Hamilton has never finished higher than 18th at California (2000) and he’s never qualified better than 12th. Last year, Hamilton finished 36th after taking a provisional and starting 38th. He finished two laps down to winner Rusty Wallace.

Rookie Ryan Newman won his first pole of the season with a track record fast lap of 187.432 mph. Kurt Busch was second, followed by Dale Jarrett, rookie Jimmie Johnson, Jerry Nadeau, Michael Waltrip, Elliott Sadler, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rusty Wallace.

Points leader Sterling Marlin qualified 25th, with second-place Matt Kenseth qualifying 20th. Greg Biffle will make his Winston Cup debut Sunday after putting another Roush Racing Ford in the race in 29th position.

Due to the tremendous response from Square D being on the hood of the No. 55 Chevy at Talladega last weekend, it will stay on the car until further notice. Square D was the primary sponsor of the No. 55 Chevy for several years before Schneider Electric took over this season.

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