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Rain hands Edwards Martinsville pole

Carl Edwards ended up with pole position for Sunday's Tums Fast Relief 500 Cup race at Martinsville Speedway after rain washed out Friday practice and Saturday morning qualifying.
Light rain showers hit Martinsville Speedway from early on Friday and led to the cancellation of all morning activities, and while conditions briefly improved in the afternoon to allow the Camping World Truck Series to get out on track for a single practice session, more rain then moved in and the planned Sprint Cup track activity had to be cancelled for the day.

Conditions were still wet in Virginia on Saturday morning after over a centimetre of overnight rainfall, leading to NASCAR having to abandon plans to squeeze in qualifying in a tentatively rescheduled program of events. With no Friday practice session order to fall back on to set the starting grid, NASCAR had to go 'old school' and revert to how it used to be done - by car owner points.

That means that all 12 Chase contenders will line up on the front six rows of the grid for Sunday's Tums Fast Relief 500 Cup, with Carl Edwards starting alongside Roush Fenway team mate Matt Kenseth on the front row and Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart immediately behind.

"Qualifying, I think, is one of the most important parts of this race and it's no secret that's been a tough thing for me and Matt as well, so I think it's best-case for us," admitted Edwards, who will be starting from pole for the first time in his career at Martinsville. "Even better is the pit stall selection."

"I don't think I've ever qualified good here. I'm pretty sure we never qualified in the top ten here if we had to get the car on the track," agreed Kenseth, but he was more worried about what the track will be like when they finally get any running on it. "I don't think any of us have any idea [about the track] because we haven't practiced yet."

Edwards was more laid back about the current lack of practice, saying he had complete faith in his crew chief Bob Osborne. "I think Bob does a really good job of predicting the setup and I think if we had no practice - and it looks like we're gonna have practice - but if we had no practice I would be fine with that. I think it would give us a little advantage. That's my opinion, so I wouldn't be worried about it."

With forecasts suggesting that skies will gradually clear and that the rain will stop and the sun come out, NASCAR was planning to run qualifying for the Truck Series race and then hold a single Cup practice session shortly after noon. Organisers prioritised practice over qualifying as the teams will be running a new Goodyear tyre specification at Martinsville that only a small handful of drivers have had testing experience of to date.

The organisers then need to fit in the Truck Series Kroger 200 race before the end of the day, which will be a squeeze if the rain returns as the Martinsville half-mile oval does not have floodlights for night time racing, which means the race has to be run and finished by around 6.30pm local time.

The forecast is much better for Sunday and rain is unlikely to be a factor for the race itself, which starts at 1.30pm local time. In the UK, NASCAR Sprint Cup races are shown live on subscription satellite channel Premier Sport TV.

There is no NASCAR Nationwide Series race this weekend.

Full starting grid positions available.



Related Pictures

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Crew members stand by the #83 Red Bull Toyota, driven by Brian Vickers, as rain falls waiting out a rain delayed practice which was cancelled for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 28, 2011 in Martinsville, Va. [Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR]
The #99 Roush Fenway Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team rolls the Aflac Ford back into the garage on Saturday after Coors Light Pole Qualifying was rained out at Martinsville Speedway. Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Carl Edwards will start first in the car on Sunday with the field set by the rule book. [Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Safety workers stand in the garage area during today`s rain delay for practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 28 in Martinsville, Va. [Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates with champagne and crew chief Tony Gibson in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
A detail view of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series logo as rain falls prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 25, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
People walk on pit road as rain falls prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway on April 25, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #20 Hisense Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway on April 24, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #20 Hisense Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway on April 24, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, finishes in sixth place and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 3M Chevrolet SS, finishes in third place Sunday, April 19, 2015 in the rain delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Wix Chevrolet SS, finishes in fifth place and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, finishes in seventh place Sunday, April 19, 2015 in the rain delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 3M Chevrolet SS, finishes in third place Sunday, April 19, 2015 in the rain delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Sunday, April 19, 2015 in the rain delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing) and David Ragan (Joe Gibbs Racing) spin out during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Comcast Business Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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