By Amanda Vincent, NASCAR reporter
- Johnson starts on Cup pole
- Allmendinger also on Cup front row
- Edwards awarded Nationwide pole
Practice times set Sprint Cup and Nationwide starting grids
Mother Nature cramped the NASCAR schedule at Dover International Speedway on Saturday, resulting in a rain cancellation of qualifying for both the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup series. According to the NASCAR rulebook, the starting grids for this afternoon’s (weather permitting) 5-Hour Energy 200 Nationwide Series race and the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks Sprint Cup event scheduled for Sunday will be set based on practice speeds from Friday.
This weekend marks the first time the Sprint Cup Series will set its starting lineup based on the new rule using practice speeds. The Nationwide Series utilized the rule for the first time last weekend when that series’ qualifying session was rained out at Darlington Raceway.
“I don’t understand how it matters to Jimmie (Johnson),” A.J. Allmendinger said. “You are either fastest, or they used to do it on points, so you would always start on pole. Not really sure how that is any different for you. For me, I used to be down in the 20s in points, so this actually worked out well.”
As a result of the rainout, Johnson will start on the pole on Sunday, joined by Allmendinger on the front row in the second spot.
“We went out there and felt like we put up a really good lap,” Allmendinger said. “We were right there with Jimmie, and unfortunately, he had to cheat and do one extra run to beam my lap.”
We were right there with Jimmie ...
Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr., will start third and Kasey Kahne fourth to make up the second row. Also starting Sunday’s Sprint Cup race in the top-10 will be Joey Logano in fifth, Kurt Busch sixth, Kyle Busch seventh, Martin Truex Jr. eighth, Brad Keselowski ninth and Kevin Harvick in 10th.
There were 44 cars entered to attempt qualifying for Sunday’s race. After the cancellation, Scott Riggs was not awarded a spot on the starting grid for the Sprint Cup event.
As for Saturday afternoon’s Nationwide Series race, Carl Edwards will start from the pole. His Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., will join him on the front row in the second starting spot.
Clint Bowyer will roll off from the third spot, alongside Justin Allgaier, who will start from the fourth position.
Kevin Swindell, subbing for Trevor Bayne, will start fifth. Brad Keselowski will start sixth, Brian Scott seventh, Elliott Sadler eighth, Jason Leffler ninth and Reed Sorenson in 10th.
Forty-six drivers originally sent in entry forms to compete in the Nationwide race this weekend, but three withdrew, making room on the starting grid for all others on hand.