Wet weather sets the pole at Michigan

For the second time in as many weeks, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series qualifying has been cancelled due to rain. The rain started shortly after the first practice session began at Michigan International Speedway and continued throughout the ...

For the second time in as many weeks, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series qualifying has been cancelled due to rain.

The rain started shortly after the first practice session began at Michigan International Speedway and continued throughout the afternoon. Busch Series qualifying was also cancelled.

Points leader Jimmie Johnson inherited his second straight pole position and will share the front row of Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400 with teammate Jeff Gordon.

"It's always important (to start at the front)," admitted Johnson, who ran just five laps of practice. "Michigan is such a great race track for racing where you can use the multiple lanes that we all know about. On a road course, it's a huge disadvantage to start at the back and not have a chance to qualify. Here, it's probably one of the more forgiving tracks that we compete at. We like the track position and we like to have the first selection of pit stalls."

Qualifying was also rained out last weekend at Watkins Glen and Johnson says that setting the grid by points this close to the cut-off for the Chase for the Championship provides added drama when drivers that are racing each other for points start so close together.

"That is what this point system is designed to do -- create better racing, some action, more things to talk about," said Johnson, who has been outspoken in his disdain for the new points system. "From one aspect, I think that this is what it was designed for. I think that everybody inside the top-10 will be pretty calm and relaxed. We all know it's a long race."

J.J. Yeley was attempting to make his first Cup Series start in a third car for the Joe Gibbs Racing team. He was the 11th fastest car in the abbreviated practice session, but missed the cut when qualifying was cancelled.

Kevin Lepage, Kerry Earnhardt, Kyle Busch, Kenny Wallace, Mike Wallace, Stan Boyd and Stanton Barrett also failed to make the field.

The weather is expected to improve for the rest of the weekend.

Friday Notes:

Tommy Baldwin Sr., father of Tommy Baldwin Jr. crew chief for Kasey Kahne's #9 Evernham Motorsports team, was killed in a crash in a NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series race in Connecticut on Thursday. Evernham competition director Sam Johns will act as crew chief for the #9 Dodge this weekend.

JGR teammates Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte planned to race in the Busch Series event at MIS on Saturday, but didn't make the starting grid when qualifying was rained out and reverted to owner's points.

Jeremy Mayfield, who jumped into the top-10 with a seventh-place run at Watkins Glen last weekend, was the fastest driver in the condensed practice session on Friday. He ran just three laps, including a 192.761 mph circuit that was 3/10ths of a second faster than Rusty Wallace.

Carl Edwards managed 10 laps in the #99 Roush Racing Ford before the rain started to fall. The Craftsman Truck Series regular will make his first Cup Series start on Sunday. Jeff Burton, who vacated the #99 seat after last week's race at Watkins Glen, was 16th fastest in practice on Friday in the #30 AOL Richard Childress Chevy.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Kenny Wallace , Kevin Lepage , Mike Wallace , Jimmie Johnson , Kerry Earnhardt , J.J. Yeley , Stanton Barrett , Stan Boyd , Carl Edwards , Tommy Baldwin , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing