Gilliland lands pole for Sprint Cup’s Coke Zero 400

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — David Gilliland has won the pole for the Sprint Cup race Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway after rain shortened qualifying.

Gilliland’s top speed during a hectic, cat-and-mouse qualifying session was 199.322 mph. The top 24 drivers Friday in the first knockout stage were supposed to advance to the next round, but rain prompted NASCAR to cancel the final two sessions.

Reed Sorenson qualified second, followed by Landon Cassill, Bobby Labonte and Jimmie Johnson.

It was the first time NASCAR’s new qualifying rules were used at Daytona, and it produced some hairy moments as groups of cars slowed to a crawl around the 2 1/2-mile superspeedway. The small packs — most of them formed by teammates — were hoping to pull behind bigger groups to produce fast laps. But no one was eager to lead the way.

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