Rain at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday cancelled track activities for the day, including NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying. As a result, the starting grid for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 was set based on 2012 season-ending owner points for the first 36 spots. Positions 37 through 43 were set based on current owner points.
Brad Keselowski and Clint Bowyer, as last year’s champion and runner-up, will start the race on Sunday front the front row. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne will occupy row two.
“Yeah, that is a really good deal,” Keselowski said of starting from the pole. “It is one of the perks I guess of being the champion in the first few races. Obviously with the rain coming you are kind of getting a great deal there. That is the first time I have had a decent starting position in a rainout. That is great. I feel pretty good about that. I was just thinking when I walked in, with this being Vegas and all, what the odds would be of a rainout in Vegas. I bet that was pretty high. Obviously whenever you can start up front it is a big deal and you get the first pit stall and all those things that make a big difference on pit road.”
Starting fifth through 10th will be Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon.
Last year’s owner points set positions that normally would be set based on qualifying lap times. The positions in the back that were set by current owner points would have been set that way anyhow, with the exception of the 43rd and final spot possibly being a past champion’s provisional.
Forty-four drivers were on hand, hoping to make qualifying runs. The one driver failing to get a starting spot was Mike Bliss.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR