Petree Pair Optimistic For Aarons 499

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Andy Petree Racing has been among the best NASCAR Winston Cup on restrictor-plate tracks in recent years. Friday at Talladega Superspeedway, APR got both cars in Sunday’s Aaron’s 499, with Mike Wallace qualifying 18th and Bobby Hamilton using a provisional.

Wallace, driving the No. 33 Preen ‘N Green Chevy, ran a lap of 184.555 mph. Hamilton, last year’s winner of the race, was 40th in qualifying at 183.213 mph in the No. 55 Schnieder Electric Chevy.

Wallace was making his third appearance of the season with Petree’s team. Wallace was only 33rd fastest in practice at 183.697 but picked up almost a full mile an hour to grab a starting spot. Wallace needed to be among the Top 36 because he didn’t have a provisional.

Hamilton won this race last year for APR and brought back the same car. But the team couldn’t find enough speed in qualifying trim Friday. He was 44th in practice at 182.059, and though he picked it up for qualifying, it wasn’t enough to automatically advance into the field.

“This is the same car we won with and finished fifth with in the second race,” Hamilton said. “We tested the NASCAR rule package, and the car was fast. The only thing we did was tear it down and paint the chassis. I wish we hadn’t have done that now.”

There were several good cars who also failed to qualify, among them Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd and Bill Elliott, so all is not lost for Hamilton. But he did sweat a bit before earning the final provisional.

Jimmie Johnson won the pole with a lap of 186.532 mph. Robby Gordon qualified on the outside of the front row at 186.409 mph.

Andy Petree Racing had one victory, two top-five and four top-eight finishes in four starts among his two teams last season. Over the last six Talladega races, APR has one victory, four top-five and six top-eight finishes.

Wallace wasn’t with the team last year, but he was strong, posting three top-10 finishes in the four plate races.

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