Rain washes out qualifying in Fontana It doesn't rain very often in Southern California but when it does, it creates problems. NASCAR found that out on Friday at Auto Club Speedway.
After a day-long effort to dry the track, a mid-afternoon downpour finally forced NASCAR officials to cancel the entire day's activities. That meant no Sprint Cup qualifying, as five cars were sent packing without making a lap. Nationwide Series and Craftsman Truck Series qualifying were also wiped out.
The field for Sunday's Auto Club 500 was set by the NASCAR rulebook. That puts Hendrick teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon on the front row, while A.J. Allmendinger, Ken Schrader, Patrick Carpentier, Mike Skinner and Burney Lamar failed to make the field.
Kurt Busch, Dale Jarrett and Bill Elliott were added because of past champion's provisionals, while Brian Vickers, David Reutimann and Michael Waltrip are currently in this season's top 35 in owner's points. John Andretti and Joe Nemechek were the final two cars to make the field, based on their finishes in last week's Daytona 500.
Heavy overnight rains ended by mid-morning and skies brightened considerably, but track officials then battled a situation in Turns 3 and 4 where water was continuously seeping through cracks in the pavement. In addition, one of the jet dryers accidentally melted a portion of the asphalt.
Even with all that, officials were close to having the track ready when the last storm hit. The revised schedule now has Nationwide Series final practice beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET, followed by the Craftsman Truck Series San Bernardino County 200 at 3 p.m. The Stater Bros. 300 is set for 7:30 p.m.
The latest weather forecast shows partly cloudy and a high near 60 for Saturday, but another front is expected to reach Southern California by late Saturday night
Sprint Cup Lineup based on last year's point standings
DuPont Cromax Pro
CARQUEST / Kellogg's
The Home Depot
Sam Hornish Jr.*
Shell / Pennzoil
Martin Truex Jr.
Bass Pro Shops / Tracker
ALLTEL / Samsung HDTV
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
AMP Energy / National Guard
Principal Financial Group / Mark Martin's 700th start
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