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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]
Joe Gibbs Racing`s Erik Jones in action during the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Joe Gibbs Racing`s Erik Jones celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Joe Gibbs Racing`s Erik Jones celebrates with a burnout after winning the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Joe Gibbs Racing`s Ross Kenseth in action during the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Joe Gibbs Racing`s Erik Jones celebrates in victory lane after winning the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Joe Gibbs Racing`s Erik Jones celebrates in victory lane after winning the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Restart during the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Chi-Chi`s/Menards Toyota, races during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway on June 19, 2015 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to victory, Sunday, June 14, 2015, in the rain shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet Chevrolet SS greets fans before the race Sunday, June 14, 2015. Busch won the rain shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by John M. Galloway for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet Chevrolet SS races to victory followed by second place finisher Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Amp Energy Chevrolet SS, and third place finisher Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS Sunday, June 14, 2015, in the rain shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Air Titan 2.0 trucks work to dry the track during a rain delay at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
A view of cars being covered on pit road as it starts to rain during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cars sit on pit road during a rain delay at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, Gene Haas, co-owner of Stewart Haas Racing, and his team pose in an alternate Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

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