Rain gives Stewart Loudon pole
|By Diego Mejia||Friday, June 26th 2009, 20:21 GMT|
Tony 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