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Rain washes out Talladega qualifying

NASCAR.com

Related: Aaron's 499 lineup

Steady rain at Talladega Superspeedway washed out NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying Saturday, meaning the starting lineup for Sunday's race will be set according to the NASCAR rule book.

Carl Edwards will start from first in the Aaron's 499 (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX) by virtue of his fastest lap (199.675 mph) in Friday's first practice session in the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. Edwards -- who has not won at the 2.66-mile track in 17 tries -- does not win the Coors Light Pole Award, but will start first for the first time since the 2012 Daytona 500.

Because the probability of rain on Saturday was high, there was considerably more intrigue in practice than is typical at a restrictor-plate track.

"It was actually pretty exciting for all the teams, because we looked at this forecast, and we were all concerned that there wasn't going to be single-car qualifying," Edwards said. "It was like a heat race out there. Everyone was doing everything they could to lag back and partner up and get the fastest lap times they could.

"It was pretty exciting. We got the fastest lap with about one minute to go. That was our whole mission (Friday), and I'm pretty proud of the fact that we ended up with the fastest time."

Martin Truex Jr., second-fastest in opening practice, will start alongside Edwards on the front row in Sunday's race, the 10th of the season for the Sprint Cup tour. Marcos Ambrose, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman complete the top five starters.

Rain began falling in the area Friday night, and continued into Saturday. NASCAR cancelled qualifying after every car had passed technical inspection and shortly after the session was scheduled to begin at 12:10 p.m. ET, as rain continued to pelt the facility.

Denny Hamlin will start seventh in his first Sprint Cup effort since suffering injuries in a last-lap crash at Auto Club Speedway on March 24. Hamlin plans to start the race then give way to relief driver Brian Vickers; the two practiced making the driver change yesterday, with Hamlin exiting through a special roof hatch and Vickers entering through the driver's door window.

Series points leader Jimmie Johnson will start eighth. Defending race winner and reigning Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski, fastest in the second practice, will start 11th.

Elliott Sadler, scheduled to enter a fourth car for Joe Gibbs Racing, was the only driver who failed to qualify for the 43-car field.

Saturday marked the second time this season that Sprint Cup qualifying has been rained out. The last time was prior to the March 10 event at Las Vegas. Keselowski started that race from the front because practice was washed out as well, leading NASCAR to set the field based on the previous season's car owner points.

Contributing: Wire reports

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Starting Lineup - Aaron's 499
Talladega Superspeedway
Talladega, Alabama
Friday, May 03, 2013

    1. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 2013 Owner Points 2nd.
    2. (56) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 2013 Owner Points 18th.
    3. (9) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 2013 Owner Points 25th.
    4. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 2013 Owner Points 20th.
    5. (39) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 2013 Owner Points 19th.
    6. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 2013 Owner Points 14th.
    7. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 2013 Owner Points 16th.
    8. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 2013 Owner Points 1st.
    9. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 2013 Owner Points 17th.
    10. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 2013 Owner Points 3rd.
    11. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 2013 Owner Points 6th.
    12. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 2013 Owner Points 4th.
    13. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 2013 Owner Points 7th.
    14. (55) Michael Waltrip, Toyota, 2013 Owner Points 13th.
    15. (21) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 2013 Owner Attempts 3.
    16. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 2013 Owner Points 10th.
    17. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 2013 Owner Points 8th.
    18. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 2013 Owner Points 11th.
    19. (34) David Ragan, Ford, 2013 Owner Points 31st.
    20. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 2013 Owner Points 5th.
    21. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #, Ford, 2013 Owner Points 21st.
    22. (13) Casey Mears, Ford, 2013 Owner Points 27th.
    23. (10) Danica Patrick #, Chevrolet, 2013 Owner Points 28th.
    24. (29) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 2013 Owner Points 9th.
    25. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 2013 Owner Points 24th.
    26. (35) Josh Wise(i), Ford, 2013 Owner Attempts 9.
    27. (30) David Stremme, Toyota, 2013 Owner Points 33rd.
    28. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 2013 Owner Points 12th.
    29. (31) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 2013 Owner Points 22nd.
    30. (42) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 2013 Owner Points 26th.
    31. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, 2013 Owner Points 35th.
    32. (93) Travis Kvapil, Toyota, 2013 Owner Attempts 9.
    33. (78) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 2013 Owner Points 23rd.
    34. (51) Regan Smith(i), Chevrolet, 2013 Owner Points 15th.
    35. (83) David Reutimann, Toyota, 2013 Owner Points 32nd.
    36. (95) Scott Speed, Ford, 2013 Owner Attempts 6.
    37. (32) Terry Labonte, Ford, Series Champion.
    38. (98) Michael McDowell, Ford, 2013 Owner Attempts 8.
    39. (47) Bobby Labonte, Toyota, 2013 Owner Points 29th.
    40. (7) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, 2013 Owner Points 30th.
    41. (87) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, 2013 Owner Attempts 9.
    42. (33) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 2013 Owner Points 36th.
    43. (36) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 2013 Owner Points 34th.

    1 drivers failed to qualify.

    44. (81) Elliott Sadler(i), Toyota, 2013 Owner Attempts 1.

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