CUP: Rain Cancels Daytona Qualifying

Persistent rain, and a Friday schedule that includes an evening Nationwide Series race, forced NASCAR to cancel Friday’s qualifying for Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 Sprint Cup event at Daytona International Speedway.


Twelve cars had made qualifying runs when light rain brought an end to the time-trial session. NASCAR waited in hopes the rain would end but was forced to stop the session to begin track preparations for Friday night’s scheduled Subway Jalapeno 250 race.

The 400 starting lineup was set using owner points, putting Kevin Harvick on the pole for the season’s second race at Daytona. Following in the top five will be Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Jeff Gordon.

Of the 12 drivers who turned in qualifying speeds before the rain, Sam Hornish Jr. led the way at 188.194 mph. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was second, and Jimmie Johnson was third.

Harvick was ninth on the speed list of those who had made runs, so he got quite a boost from the weather.

“We didn’t have a lot of speed in our car in qualifying trim,” Harvick said. “Obviously, it makes things a little easier at the beginning of the race to get going. Our car drives really well. That’s going to be the key to doing well.”

Steve Park, who will start 39th, will be making his first appearance in a Sprint Cup race since 2003.

Michael McDowell and Todd Bodine did not make the starting field.

The race is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. (ET) start Saturday.

Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for and has been covering motorsports for 28 years. He has written several books on NASCAR, including "NASCAR: The Definitive History of America's Sport" and "Then Tony Said To Junior: The Best NASCAR Stories Ever Told". He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.