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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]
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, loses control of the car after making contact with Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Will Schneekloth/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, leads the field at the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates setting the pole position during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, leads the field after a restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, places his name in the top twelve on The Chase Grid after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, puts the winner`s sticker on his car in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Splash-FVP/Menards Toyota, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
(Back Row L-R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Back Row L - R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Madison Martin, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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