Rain gives Gordon Martinsville pole

Points leader Jeff Gordon will start Sunday's Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 from pole position after qualifying was rained out tonight at Martinsville Speedway

Rain gives Gordon Martinsville pole

The starting grid will be set as per the rulebook, based on the current car-owner standings, locking up the top 35 in the field while the remaining positions are determined based on their current position in that ranking and the number of qualifying attempts made by each of them this season.

Gordon, a seven-time winner at NASCAR's shortest track, will get yet another chance to break his winless streak thanks to the cancellation of qualifying. The Hendrick driver looked as one of the favorites to take pole after setting the third fastest time in the morning practice, actually topping the leaderboard for most of the session.

The four-time champion will benefit from taking the first pitbox thanks to getting pole, meaning he will have a clear exit following every stop during the race.

"Honestly I think because of the pit-road situation this is probably the most important place to start on the pole because you've got the number one pitstall," Gordon said. "Either way I feel like rain or shine, we had a shot at getting [pole position] because this is one of my best tracks.

"Certainly great timing for us to be leading the points because of the rain today and I know that there's some this is going to work against. It's kind of bittersweet for some but for us it's just taking advantage of all the hard work we've put on the last five races."

Kurt Busch will join Gordon on the front row, marking the third time he starts from second this season. Meanwhile Clint Bowyer will see the green flag wave from the inside of the second row - his best start of the season - while Kyle Busch will have his best ever grid position for a Sprint Cup race at Martinsville with fourth place.

Gordon's teammate Jimmie Johnson, who has won four of the last five races at the track, will start the race from ninth on the grid behind local and also last year's event-winner Denny Hamlin, who had topped the morning practice session.

Sterling Marlin, Tony Raines, Dennis Setzer and Derrike Cope have been left out of the field without a shot at making the grid.

The weather forecast shows rain will once again affect proceedings on Saturday, although showers are expected in the afternoon and both Sprint Cup series practice session are scheduled around late-morning. Sunday's forecast is better though, with only 20 per cent chance of rain.

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