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Rain gives Stewart Loudon pole

Tony StewartTony Stewart will start from pole on Sunday after rain washed out qualifying at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Drivers will start the race according to the owner standings, as the rulebook states when qualifying is rained out. Stewart's #14 car currently leads that ranking, which basically mirrors the drivers' points, also led by the double NASCAR Sprint Cup champion.

As happened at Pocono three weeks ago, Stewart will start the race in his back-up car after he hit the wall during practice earlier. However he will not be put to the back of the grid as his team has swapped the engine from his primary car, allowing him to retain pole position for Sunday.

"I just got loose and once I got out of the groove I was staying right with it, I just needed another 50 feet to finish getting gathered up and sliding up," said Stewart about his incident. "I just ran out of race track."

"Like I was talking to Darian [Grubb, crew chief] right before we came over here, the good thing and the comforting part of the situation was that we've got a group of guys that I have the utmost confidence that when we get in a situation like that, that can recover from this and get a back-up car out and get it ready and go out and finish the session and finish competitively. From that stand point you're happy."

Jeff Gordon will start beside Stewart on the front row of the grid, while Jimmie Johnson and last year's winner Kurt Busch will line up on the second row. Busch had been fastest in practice earlier in the day ahead of David Reutimann, Juan Pablo Montoya and Johnson.

Carl Edwards will start from fifth on the grid, his best starting spot of the season since he lined up in the same position earlier this year at Martinsville, where qualifying was also rained out. Ryan Newman will share the third row of the grid with Edwards.

Like Stewart, veteran Mark Martin also hit the wall during practice shortly before the points leader did. However the Hendrick Motorsports driver did not switch to his back-up car and he will start from the inside of the sixth row of the grid beside Montoya, who was third fastest in practice.

Last year's pole winner Patrick Carpentier will start from 41st in his second race of the season driving for Tommy Baldwin's team, after competing for Michael Waltrip racing last week at Sonoma.

Dexter Bean, Ted Christopher and Mike Wallace did not get a chance to attempt qualifying for Sunday's 301-mile event.

Pos  Driver              Car
 1.  Tony Stewart        Chevrolet
 2.  Jeff Gordon         Chevrolet
 3.  Jimmie Johnson      Chevrolet
 4.  Kurt Busch          Dodge
 5.  Carl Edwards        Ford
 6.  Ryan Newman         Chevrolet
 7.  Denny Hamlin        Toyota
 8.  Greg Biffle         Ford
 9.  Kyle Busch          Toyota
10.  Matt Kenseth        Ford
11.  Mark Martin         Chevrolet
12.  Juan Montoya        Chevrolet
13.  Kasey Kahne         Dodge
14.  David Reutimann     Toyota
15.  Jeff Burton         Chevrolet
16.  Clint Bowyer        Chevrolet
17.  Brian Vickers       Toyota
18.  Marcos Ambrose      Toyota
19.  Jamie McMurray      Ford
20.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Chevrolet
21.  Casey Mears         Chevrolet
22.  Martin Truex Jr     Chevrolet
23.  Elliott Sadler      Dodge
24.  Joey Logano         Toyota
25.  Kevin Harvick       Chevrolet
26.  Sam Hornish Jr      Dodge
27.  Reed Sorenson       Dodge
28.  Bobby Labonte       Ford
29.  Michael Waltrip     Toyota
30.  AJ Allmendinger     Dodge
31.  David Ragan         Ford
32.  David Stremme       Dodge
33.  Paul Menard         Ford
34.  Robby Gordon        Toyota
35.  John Andretti       Chevrolet
36.  Brad Keselowski     Chevrolet
37.  Scott Speed         Toyota
38.  David Gilliland     Chevrolet
39.  Joe Nemechek        Toyota
40.  Dave Blaney         Toyota
41.  Patrick Carpentier  Toyota
42.  Tony Raines         Dodge
43.  Regan Smith         Chevrolet

Did not qualify:

     Dexter Bean         Dodge
     Ted Christopher     Toyota
     Mike Wallace        Toyota

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