Talladega, AL – Persistent rain at Talladega Superspeedway forced NASCAR to cancel Saturday's qualifying session for the Aaron's 499.
The starting field for Sunday's 500-mile race at Talladega was determined by practice times/speeds in Friday's first practice session. Carl Edwards earned the pole, since his lap at 199.675 mph was quickest in practice. Edwards is not credit with a pole win. It will be the first time the Roush Fenway Racing driver starts first in a Sprint Cup Series race since the 2012 Daytona 500. His best finish in 17 races at Talladega is fifth, which came in October 2005.
Martin Truex Jr. will start second, followed by Marcos Ambrose, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman.
Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne will roll off sixth through 10th, respectively. Hamlin has missed the last four races due to a compression fracture in his lower back that he suffered during an accident on the last lap of the March 24 race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
Brad Keselowski, the defending series champion and the winner of last year's spring race at Talladega, will start 11th, one spot ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Danica Patrick secured the 23rd starting position. This will be Patrick's first time competing in a Sprint Cup race at this 2.66-mile superspeedway.
Elliott Sadler was the only driver who did not make the starting field.
This will be the first race at Talladega for NASCAR's new Sprint Cup car, the Gen-6. In February, the car made its competition debut at Daytona International Speedway. The Gen-6 wasn't exactly a hit in the first restrictor-place race of the season -- the Daytona 500 -- due to a lack of passing and side-by-side racing. Teams found out during practice that the car handles differently at Talladega than it did at Daytona.
"The car seem to do a really good job of pulling up and actually passing other cars here," Edwards said. "Our car is very fast. I don't know if it's just our car is real fast, or if everyone is like that. It looks like it's going to be a pretty crazy race ... I guarantee you the final couple of laps are going to be insane."
There is still a lot of curiosity about how well the car will perform during the race at Talladega.
"The Gen-6 car first time at Talladega, a lot of guys are trying to figure it out," Truex said. "We expected it to be similar to Daytona, but it actually feels quite a bit different, which is interesting. We really don't know what to expect for tomorrow yet. The practicing here is never quite like it is in the race."
Sunday's race is scheduled to start just after 1 p.m. ET. However, the weather could be a factor again. The National Weather Service is forecasting a 70 percent chance of rain in the Talladega area during the afternoon.