...the latest news from around the world, courtesy of press snoop Lynne Huntting

RAIN got in the way of quality track time at Pocono International Raceway this weekend, with shortened practice and delayed qualifying on Friday, and almost no practice Saturday for Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup Pennsylvania 500 race.

CASEY MEARS/#41 Dodge earned his first-ever Cup pole with a speed of 171.720 mph.

DALE EARNHARDT Jr/#8 Budweiser Chevrolet qualified sixteenth and plans to run the entire race, although DEI driver, JOHN ANDRETTI, is standing by. Earnhardt is still limping, or at least walking like someone starched his shorts.

RICKY CRAVEN/#11 Tide Chevrolet will finish the season with CAL WELLS at PPI, but next year the ride goes to BOBBY HAMILTON Jr, who will bring his Busch Series crew chief. Craven qualified thirty-fifth.

Three drivers did not qualify - KEVIN LEPAGE/#251 NegotiationsSeminar.com Chevrolet; ANDY HILLENBURG/#137 Carter's Dodge; and A.J. HENRICKSEN/#90 Donlavey Racing Ford.

TONY KANAAN/#11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda earned his first pole position this season for Sunday's Indy Racing League Indy 400 IndyCar race, with a speed of 215.871 mph.

HELIO CASTRONEVES/No. Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota qualified second but will start twentieth due to an engine change. This moved up SCOTT DIXON/#1 Panoz G Force/Toyota to third place. Not bad for a guy driving with a splint on his right hand for a non-displaced thumb fracture after two crashes last weekend at the Milwaukee Mile. Rookie KOSUKE MATSUURA/#55 Panasonic ARTA G Force/Honda will start second.

FELIPE GIAFFONE/#24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Chevrolet, who qualified twentieth, will move back one place due to an engine change, and will start twenty-first.

TORA TAKAGI/#12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Toyota also changed an engine at the last minute, but his last place start is where he qualified. Only 1.07630 seconds separates the 22-car field.

Also racing at Michigan this weekend was the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. It was a red letter day for new manufacturer, Toyota and TRAVIS KVAPIL of Wisconsin, sponsored by Line-X Spray-On Truck Bedliners, which just happened to be the race sponsor also. They all won Saturday afternoon.

Pole sitter DENNIS SETZER/#46 Chevrolet Silverado finished tenth and kept his points lead, by 33 points. Setzer's teammate for the weekend in the second Morgan-Dollar Chevrolet, J.J. YELEY/#47 Acxiom Chevrolet, started in P34 and finished a lucky thirteenth.

There were two female drivers in the race. DEBORAH RENSHAW/#29 Par 4 Plastics Ford started twenty-fifth and finished twenty-second. KELLY SUTTON/#02 Team Copaxone Chevrolet started thirtieth and finished twenty-fifth, despite a spin induced by a flat left front tyre.

NASCAR seems to be a bit more honest in saying why a driver DNF, at least in the Truck Series. In the past the grid fillers who started, retired early and collected enough money to pay expenses were said to have handling problems or some such. This weekend, the first two Truck drivers out had their status listed as 'Too Slow.' LONI RICHARDSON/#0 Value Tool Chevrolet ran eight laps, and collected $9,340. Perennial Start-Quit driver, PHIL BONIFIELD/#25 Motor State Distributing Chevrolet, lasted 14 laps out of the 185 laps in the race, and collected $9,365.

In the Salute To The Troops 250 Busch Series race at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado, TINA GORDON/No.39 Yahoo/Vassarette/Microtel Ford DNF for being 'Too Slow, but she ran 210 of the 250 laps, and she collected $19,025 for her twenty-sixth place finish. She was the only one of 18 DNF drivers to have that Status.

GREG BIFFLE/#60 Bass Ford won the Busch race, after starting from the back of the pack due to an engine change. He qualified fourth and only led once, the last 23 laps. Pole sitter, MARTIN TRUEX Jr/#8 Wrangler Jeans Chevrolet finished fourth after leading the most laps.

Here's a new reason for disqualification, or at least one I haven't seen before. Racing with an expired competition license was the reason DALE PULDE was disqualified from his sixteenth position in the Funny Car division at this weekend's NHRA FRAM Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma CA. This moves up BOB BODE, who was right behind him. The fastest Funny Car was JOHN FORCE/Castrol GTX Start Up Ford Mustang, in the first round of eliminations, with a 4.823 seconds at 318.84 mph, make this pole number 120 in his career.

Other pole positions were won by GARY ANDERSON/Summitt Racing Equipment Pontiac Grand Am in Pro Stock, who set a new track record of 6.693-seconds at 206.01 mph, in earning his twelfth pole position this season in 14 races so far; DOUG KALITTA/Mac Tools for his second pole this season in Top Fuel with a 4.574 seconds at 323.66 mph; and ANGELLE SAVOIE/U.S. Army Suzuki in Pro Stock Bikes, with a 7.081 seconds at 188.10 mph, her second pole this season.