Edwards leads Cup practice at Talladega as rain threatens qualifying

Sprint Cup practice turned into a glorified qualifying session Friday at Talladega Superspeedway.

With a threat of rain at the track Saturday, drivers worked ferociously to post the top speeds in their first practice Friday. If qualifying is rained out Saturday, the starting order for the race Sunday would be set by practice speeds from the first session. That had drivers looking for the best draft possible, with Carl Edwards (199.675 mph) and Martin Truex Jr. (199.650) posting the two top speeds. Marcos Ambrose, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman were third through fifth, followed by Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne.

Defending Cup champion Brad Keselowski was 11th, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch and Michael Waltrip.

“It was kind of a ‘go time’ in that first little bit of practice there," said Clint Bowyer, who was 20th in the session. “It was pretty exciting."

Danica Patrick, who won the pole for the Daytona 500, was 23rd in practice.

Only 27 of the 44 drivers ran laps in the final practice session, which was led by Keselowski.

There will be no more practice for the Aaron’s 499. Qualifying is scheduled for 12:10 p.m. Eastern on Saturday but there is a 90 percent chance of rain. The cars will then be impounded for the race Sunday (1 p.m. ET, Fox).

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