Rain washes out Dover qualifying

Matt Kenseth

A hard, steady rain at Dover International Speedway made Matt Kenseth's life easier – and Kevin Harvick's challenge even more difficult than it otherwise might have been.

With a massive East Coast storm forcing cancellation of all of Friday's track activity at the Monster Mile, including NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying, Kenseth will start on the pole for Sunday’s AAA 400, the elimination race for the Challenger Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

The series leader, Kenseth already has earned a spot in the Chase's Contender Round by virtue of last Sunday's victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

On the other hand, with the field ordered by owner points according to rainout rules, Harvick will start 15th in a race he almost certainly must win to keep his hopes of winning back-to-back series championships alive.

After an early wreck and a 42nd-place finish in the Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway, Harvick ran out of fuel while leading with three laps left at New Hampshire and finished 21st, leaving him 23 points out of 12th place in the standings, the last transfer position for the next round.

Even though the rain put him on the pole, Kenseth would have preferred to have practiced on Friday, especially in light of the suspension issues that relegated him to a 39th-place finish in the May 31 event at Dover.

"I think we all would have liked to get on the track today and get some practice," Kenseth said on Friday at Dover. "I know there are some things we wanted to work on and try to improve from the spring for this race.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]"I think everybody wanted to get on the track. I think it's one of the advantages of leading the points – obviously, if it rains, you get a good starting spot and pit stall. Glad we're starting in the front, but still would have liked the track time."

The qualifying cancellation means the 16 Chase drivers will start from the top 16 positions on the grid. Denny Hamlin, who punched his ticket to the Contender Round with a win at Chicagoland, will start on the front row beside his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate.

Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Jimmie Johnson are third through fifth on the grid, respectively, for Sunday’s race. "Bubble" drivers Jamie McMurray, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch and Paul Menard, all of whom are within a two-point range in the standings, will start 11th through 14th, respectively.

"We'll be ready; we'll be prepared and we won't start as far forward as we have here in years past," said Busch, who blew a right front tire at New Hampshire, crashed and finished 37th. "Typically we're a top-five qualifier. … We'll make do."

Busch feels his team's level of readiness coming to the track this season will stand him in good stead.

"I think, for my guys, we've been really, really good this year of unloading and having some strong cars and some good speed right off the truck," Busch said. "I'd actually look forward to no practice time here. I think that would be really good for the 18 team."

Lineup

Pos. # Driver Manufacturer Sponsor
1 20 Matt Kenseth Toyota Dollar General
2 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office
3 19 Carl Edwards Toyota Arris
4 22 Joey Logano Ford Shell Pennzoil
5 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's
6 31 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Quicken Loans
7 41 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Haas Automation
8 2 Brad Keselowski Ford Wurth
9 78 Martin Truex Jr Chevrolet Furniture Row/Visser Precision
10 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet AARP MEMBER ADVANTAGES
11 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Nature Made
12 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet NATIONWIDE Plenti
13 18 Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate Batteries
14 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Knauf / Menards
15 4 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser / Jimmy John's
16 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-Hour Energy
17 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet HendrickRideAlong.com
18 43 Aric Almirola Ford Nathans Famous
19 42 Kyle Larson Chevrolet Target Plaid
20 16 Greg Biffle Ford Ortho Ford Fusion
21 3 Austin Dillon Chevrolet Dow
22 13 Casey Mears Chevrolet No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS
23 47 AJ Allmendinger Chevrolet Hungry Jack
24 10 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy
25 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops
26 9 Sam Hornish Jr Ford SlimFast
27 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Ford Fastenal Ford Fusion
28 55 David Ragan Toyota Aaron's Online Dream Machine
29 6 Trevor Bayne Ford Advocare Ford Fusion
30 51 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet Fraternal Order of Eagles
31 35 Cole Whitt Ford Dockside/Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters
32 38 David Gilliland Ford MDS Transportation
33 40 Landon Cassill Chevrolet CRC Brakleeh
34 34 Brett Moffitt Ford CSX Play It Safe
35 7 Alex Bowman Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet
36 33 Alex Kennedy Chevrolet TBA
37 83 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota Cosmo
38 46 Michael Annett Chevrolet Pilot Flying J
39 23 Jeb Burton Toyota Dr. Pepper/Estes
40 98 Reed Sorenson Ford Premium Motorsports
41 32 Josh Wise Ford SCHWARZE SWEEPERS/CORVETTEPARTS.NET
42 26 J.J. Yeley Toyota Maxim Fantasy
43 62 Timmy Hill Chevrolet Premium Motorsports

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