A two-hour rain delay couldn't stop Bobby Labonte from taking his second Bud Pole Award this year at the two-mile Michigan International Speedway as the practice formbook got thrown out of the window.

From being a grippy, warm track for the opening practice session of the weekend, a brief but fierce shower at almost the exact time Bud Pole Qualifying was due to start turned the two-mile Michigan International Speedway into an entirely different proposition when qualifying finally got underway some two hours after the advertised start time.

With all the rubber washed off and dramatically cooler temperatures, many teams were given an unwanted headache and the end result was that an early draw was just as crucial as the ability to adapt to the on-track conditions.

Labonte went out 16th of the 44 cars on pit road and set down a lap of 37.847secs (190.240mph), a mark just shy of Dale Earnhardt Jr's outright track record but more than enough to depose practice pacesetter and early session pole man Ryan Newman.

Newman missed out on a sixth Bud Pole Award of the season despite setting a best time of 37.909secs (189.929mph) as the ninth car off pit road and with the track getting slower and slower as the session wore on, hardly anybody threatened the top of the leaderboard after Labonte, who secured his fourth pole of the year and his second of the season at MIS in the process.

Third on the grid will be Watkins Glen winner Robby Gordon while fourth, in one of the shocks of the season, will be Kevin Lepage in the Team CLR Ford. Although he freely admitted that his very early qualifying draw, a Robert Yates engine and some exceptionally cool track conditions helped enormously, fourth overall was still a tremendous effort by Lepage and the entire #57 crew.

The list of surprises continued as Terry Labonte set fifth fastest time in the #5 Kellogg's Chevrolet, Jason Leffler an excellent sixth fastest time in the #0 NetZero Pontiac and Christian Fittipaldi a season's best seventh in the #43 Cheerios Dodge.

Jeff Burton, Dave Blaney and first man out Jimmy Spencer rounded out the top ten while Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch were happier than you would expect with 11th and 20th fastest times respectively as they were among the last to qualify.

Larry Foyt qualified a career best 14th while Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart led a raft of big names who qualified badly in 19th, 21st and 23rd places respectively while Mark Martin and Sterling Marlin were among the provisional qualifiers.

Only one driver failed to make the cut and the unlucky man this time around was Stacy Compton, who failed to put the out-of-provisionals #4 Kodak team into the starting field for the second time in three races.