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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]
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, burn out as Crafton celebrates winning the series championship and Wallace celebrates winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship in Victory Lane with the trophy, NASCAR President Mike Helton and sportscaster Krista Voda during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and placing ninth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and his daughter Elladee take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Crafton drives the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 13, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, climbs into his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 24, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, climbs out of his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, talks to his crew chief, Paul Wolfe, after failing to advance to the championship round of the Chase for the Spring Cup after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/ Getty Images)

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