Brendan Gaughan will start the Mountain Dew Southern 500 in the 29th position on Sunday, Nov. 14; a position awarded by owners' points after qualifying was rained out Friday.
Weather was a factor the majority of the day over the South Carolina track. Despite showers that continued to move across the area, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competitors were able to complete their practice with intermittent breaks in the weather.
Gaughan struggled through the morning practice session, dealing with tight handling conditions in his Kodak Easy Share Dodge. He even christened his machine with the fabled "Darlington Stripe".
"I struggled [at this track] back in the spring, and I am struggling now," Gaughan said. "This track is tough and it takes time to find the right line. Shane [Wilson, crew chief] and the guys are working at loosening the car up for me but we have to wait until tomorrow to see what we have to work with."
Gaughan's Penske-Jasper-powered teammate Ryan Newman was fastest during the morning practice session, while his other teammates, Travis Kvapil and Rusty Wallace, posted the fifth and 13th fastest laps, respectively. Unfortunately, with qualifying efforts cancelled, Kvapil will not compete in the Mountain Dew Southern 500. Due to his limited Cup schedule his team has not accumulated enough points to acquire a provisional starting position. Kvapil will attempt to make next week's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competitors will take to the track Saturday morning to fine-tune their machines before Sunday's competition.