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Busch Grand National Division

Friday, June 6

Washout goes Sauter's way, luckily
Associated Press

Johnny Sauter
GLADEVILLE, Tenn. -- Being teammates with Kevin Harvick paid off Friday for Johnny Sauter as he picked up the pole for the Trace Adkins "Chrome'' 300 based on Busch Series owners' points after rain washed out qualifying.

Harvick is in Pocono this weekend for the Winston Cup, so Sauter is driving his Chevrolet as the second driver for Richard Childress Racing. The pole for the race Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway is the second of Sauter's career and first since Talladega in April 2002.

"I think Kevin's done a little bit better job keeping it up in the points than I have, but I'll reap the benefit of it,'' Sauter said. "Driving the 21 and the 43 (car) has been pretty educational for me, trying to apply things back and forth between the two teams.''

Harvick has won two races this season as one of the Winston Cup regulars who have dominated the Busch Series, winning 11 of 14 events. Sauter is currently ninth in the points race, and his best finish this season came here in April as he led 22 laps and finished second to David Green.

Sauter will try to become just the second driver to win from the pole this season, following Joe Nemechek last week at Dover.

"Starting on the pole with track position is going to be a lot better for us,'' Sauter said.

Todd Bodine, the Busch Series points leader as a driver, will start second in his Chevrolet.

Bodine is the only Winston Cup regular driving here. He qualified 14th at Pocono and flew to Nashville, arriving just in time to hear that qualifying had been washed out. Bodine started at the back here in April when Mike McLaughlin filled in for him during qualifying and finished 13th.

McLaughlin was the fastest in practice Friday, but Bodine said he wanted to be behind the wheel if possible. He was due to fly back to New York on Friday night for practice at Pocono on Saturday, then return to Nashville for the Busch race.

"To be at the front at the start of it is definitely a big plus,'' Bodine said.

Bodine wasn't even sure whether he would race in Nashville until a new sponsorship deal was signed Thursday with for three more races.

"We've been hanging on every week with a sponsor and fortunate enough to get these people to sponsor us in these races,'' he said. "People think it's a smoke screen that we're not racing, but we're not kidding. If we don't have a sponsor, we're not racing.''

Scott Riggs, who won the inaugural race here in 2001, will start third in his Ford, and Green will start fourth in his Pontiac. Rookie David Stremme will be fifth beside Mike Bliss, followed by Ron Hornaday Jr., Jason Keller, Brian Vickers and Shane Hmiel. Chevrolets fill six of the first 10 spots.

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