|Action from the Daytona 500 on February 20, 2011. REUTERS/Doug Murray
NASCAR canceled qualifying for both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series on Saturday at Dover International Speedway, due to persistent rain.
Jimmie Johnson will start on the pole for the FedEx 400 Sprint Cup race at Dover. Johnson, the five-time defending series champion, earned the pole, since he was fastest overall in Friday's practice sessions here. He will attempt to win his track-record-tying seventh win. Bobby Allison and Richard Petty won seven times each at this one-mile track.
A.J. Allmendinger, second quickest in practice, will share the front row with Johnson.
This is the first Cup qualifying session to be called off this season. Earlier this year, NASCAR revised its rules for qualifying. If inclement weather cancels the session, the starting lineup will be determined by practice speeds. The old rule had the starting field determined by owner points.
"The new system definitely requires some thinking beforehand, coming into the race weekend and paying close attention to the weather," Johnson said. "We elected to start in race trim yesterday [in practice], and the first run on track was really strong. I think it had us third at time and ended up being fifth overall with the guys in qualifying trim.
"When we saw the speed and the threat of weather, we switched into qualifying trim and worked really hard to outrun [Allmendinger]."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start third, followed by Kasey Kahne and Joey Logano.
Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, the defending race winner, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick will roll off sixth through 10th, respectively.
Kyle Busch and Harvick began their five-week probation period this weekend at Dover, following their altercation in last Saturday's Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway. NASCAR fined Busch and Harvick $25,000 each and placed both of them on probation until June 15 for their incident at Darlington.
Carl Edwards will start from the pole position in Saturday afternoon's 5-Hour Energy 200 Nationwide event at Dover. Edwards' Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., will roll off second, followed by Clint Bowyer, Justin Allgaier and Kevin Swindell, who is substituting for Trevor Bayne in Roush's No.16 Ford.
NASCAR is hopeful in running the Nationwide race on Saturday. According to the National Weather Service, a chance of showers with a 30 percent chance of precipitation is forecasted for the Dover area.
Sunday's 400-mile Sprint Cup race at Dover is scheduled to start just after 1:00 p.m. (et). However, the chance of rain in Dover on that day increases to 60 percent. Showers are in the forecast here all the way through Wednesday.