By AMANDA VINCENT
Weather brought the cancellation of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Saturday. As a result of the cancellation, the starting grid for Sunday’s Coke Zero 400 were set based on practice speeds from the first practice session on Friday, putting Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the pole and Austin Dillon next to him on the front row for the green flag on Sunday.
NASCAR attempted to wait out inclement weather in the area that didn’t dampen the track but included nearby lightning that prompted NASCAR and track officials to evacuate the DIS grandstands. Rain finally hit the track almost simultaneously to NASCAR’s call to cancel qualifying as time for the start of the evening’s Xfinity Series race drew near.
Drivers claiming third through 10th-place spots on the starting grid for Sunday based on their Friday practice speeds include Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, Trevor Bayne, David Gilliland, A.J. Allmendinger, David Ragan, Jamie McMurray and Kasey Kahne.
Forty-five drivers were prepared to make qualifying runs on Saturday, so two drivers were left on the outside looking in when the field was set. Ryan Blaney and Michael McDowell weren’t awarded spots on the starting grid, as their teams had the smallest number of qualifying attempts among those entered.
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