"That's almost a third of all the races this year where qualifying was rained out and just like I said the last time it happened, this year has to be some kind of record for starting the cars by points," said Kurt Busch, driver of the Miller Lite Dodge, who will go from the 19th starting spot here on Saturday due to his standing in car owner points. "I have mixed emotions, but we probably needed that practice here this afternoon.
"We had drawn the No. 1 spot for qualifying, meaning that we would have had to been the first team to take to the track," said Busch, the 2004 series champion who is still looking for his first win on this 1.5-mile quad-oval after 16 prior race starts. "That would have been a pretty precarious spot to be in, especially if there wasn't much rubber down out there.
"We have two practice sessions here tomorrow and we'll work at maximizing our effort in those and finding the best setup we can for our Miller Lite Dodge," Busch said.
Points-leader Jimmie Johnson will start on the pole here in Saturday's race, with second-place points man Carl Edwards on the outside of the front row. Greg Biffle starts third, with Jeff Burton fourth and Clint Bowyer fifth. Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. round out the top-10 starters.
Penske Racing teammate Ryan Newman starts 16th on the basis of car owner points, while team rookie competitor Sam Hornish Jr. starts 36th due to the points-swap made between the No. 2 and No. 77 teams prior to the start of the4 season. Not making the race were #25-Brad Keselowski, #40-Bryan Clauson, #82-Scott Speed (all three trying to make their series debut) and #75-Derrike Cope.
Friday's schedule here at Lowe's Motor Speedway calls for practice sessions from 5:00 p.m. till 5:45 p.m. and from 6:20 p.m. till 7:20 p.m. Saturday's Bank of America 500 (334 laps/501 miles) has a scheduled 7:25 p.m. ET starting time, with ABC-TV and PRN Radio providing live coverage of all the action.