Rain puts Gordon on NASCAR Cup pole at Martinsville

  • By Hank Kurz Jr. Associated Press
  • Friday, March 27, 2009 4:10pm
  • SportsSports

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Jeff Gordon will start from the pole position in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway after steady rain washed out qualifying Friday.

Being the points leader also earned Gordon the prime stall on the cramped pit road of NASCAR’s tricky, 0.526-mile oval. He will be seeking his eighth victory at Martinsville, tops among active drivers, and his first in 47 races.

The qualifying rainout, he figures, only helps his chances.

“I think because of the pit road situation here, this is probably the most important place to start on the pole because you get that No. 1 pit stall,” said Gordon, who has started at the top spot seven other times in his career at the track. “Either way, I feel like rain or shine we had a shot at getting it. Certainly great timing for us to be leading the points.”

Martinsville’s pit road surrounds much of the small track, and the stall Gordon will take is closest to the exit to pit road with nothing obstructing his car’s path onto the track.

Other stalls are difficult to maneuver in and out of because they are all narrow.

“There’s no doubt that anyone that gets the No. 1 pit stall, it gives them the upper hand,” the four-time series champ said. “The stalls are so tight; there’s only one good one.”

Kurt Busch will start second, followed by Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards.

The rain came after the Cup drivers got in a practice, and that left Gordon and several others delighted to have at least had a chance to adjust their car setups to the track.

“I’m excited,” Bowyer said. “I think I’ve got as good a car as I’ve ever had here.”

After Friday qualifying; race Sunday

At Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Va.

Laplength: 0.526 miles

(Car number in parentheses)

(Qualifying canceled., rain; lineup set by rules)

1. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 2009 Owner Points.

2. (2) Kurt Busch, Dodge, 2009 Owner Points.

3. (33) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 2009 Owner Points.

4. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 2009 Owner Points.

5. (99) Carl Edwards, Ford, 2009 Owner Points.

6. (9) Kasey Kahne, Dodge, 2009 Owner Points.

7. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 2009 Owner Points.

8. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 2009 Owner Points.

9. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 2009 Owner Points.

10. (17) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 2009 Owner Points.

11. (00) David Reutimann, Toyota, 2009 Owner Points.

12. (29) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 2009 Owner Points.

13. (31) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 2009 Owner Points.

14. (83) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 2009 Owner Points.

15. (42) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 2009 Owner Points.

16. (44) A J Allmendinger, Dodge, 2009 Owner Points.

17. (19) Elliott Sadler, Dodge, 2009 Owner Points.

18. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 2009 Owner Points.

19. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 2009 Owner Points.

20. (1) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 2009 Owner Points.

21. (55) Michael Waltrip, Toyota, 2009 Owner Points.

22. (12) David Stremme, Dodge, 2009 Owner Points.

23. (96) Bobby Labonte, Ford, 2009 Owner Points.

24. (47) Marcos Ambrose, Toyota, 2009 Owner Points.

25. (07) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 2009 Owner Points.

26. (6) David Ragan, Ford, 2009 Owner Points.

27. (39) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 2009 Owner Points.

28. (26) Jamie McMurray, Ford, 2009 Owner Points.

29. (43) Reed Sorenson, Dodge, 2009 Owner Points.

30. (7) Robby Gordon, Toyota, 2009 Owner Points.

31. (5) Mark Martin, Chevrolet, 2009 Owner Points.

32. (77) Sam Hornish Jr., Dodge, 2009 Owner Points.

33. (34) John Andretti, Chevrolet, 2009 Owner Points.

34. (20) Joey Logano, Toyota, 2009 Owner Points.

35. (71) David Gilliland, Chevrolet, 2009 Owner Points.

36. (82) Scott Speed, Toyota, 5 Owner Attempts.

37. (8) Aric Almirola, Chevrolet, 5 Owner Attempts.

38. (98) Paul Menard, Ford, 5 Owner Attempts.

39. (66) Dave Blaney, Toyota, 5 Owner Attempts.

40. (36) Scott Riggs, Toyota, 5 Owner Attempts.

41. (87) Joe Nemechek, Toyota, 5 Owner Attempts.

42. (41) Jeremy Mayfield, Toyota, 5 Owner Attempts.

43. (64) Todd Bodine, Toyota, 5 Owner Attempts.

Failed to Qualify

44. (09) Sterling Marlin, Dodge, 5 Owner Attempts.

45. (37) Tony Raines, Chevrolet, 3 Owner Attempts.

46. (46) Dennis Setzer, Dodge, 1 Owner Attempt.

47. (75) Derrike Cope, Dodge, 1 Owner Attempt.

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