The Nextel Cup contenders dodged the rain at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday as poor weather failed to prevent Bud Pole qualifying from being completed.

Joe Nemechek outpaced the rest of a 48-car entry to claim his first Bud Pole award of the year so far, narrowly beating Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne for top spot.

Rookie Kyle Busch and qualifying supreme Ryan Newman will complete the top five although defending Michigan winner Greg Biffle could only manage 31st fastest time.

Tony Stewart's slow weekend continued and his bid for a sixth win in eight races will start from a lowly 36th position.

Biffle and Stewart will be joined by practice pacesetter Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick as big names starting outside the top 30 although PJ Jones, Carl Long, Eric McClure, Bryan Reffner and Morgan Shepherd won't be starting Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400 at all after failing to qualify.



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