Bristol Cup qualifying washed out, Mears takes pole

After a day filled with practice at Bristol Motor Speedway, the rains came at an opurtune time for Casey Mears.

Mears, who topped the speed charts in the first practice session Friday afternoon, will start on the pole for Saturday night’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway per the NASCAR rule book.

“It’s a big boost in the arm for this team. These boys have worked hard, and what a great start to Bristol,” said Mears after the qualifying session had been called.

“You get a great pit stall. It’s just awesome. Real proud of the guys. Big day for us.”

Although the pole will not be credited as an official pole in the record books, this is the first time Mears has started from the first position since he won the pole at Chicagoland Speedway in July,2007.

“It’s huge. We don’t have a huge budget. Bob Germain (car owner) has done a great job has done a great job in making a relationship with Roush where we can get parts and pieces we need. But, we still have to figure out to do with them.

“Everybody treats that first practice like qualifying anyways, so to come out on top of that was huge for us. Starting on the pole is really big for this program.

“Nobody ever wants to get a pole like this, but we’ll take it.”

Brad Keselowski, who has won the last two Sprint Cup races at Bristol, was the second fastest car in the first practice session which means his No.2 will line up next to Mears on the front row when the green flag flies Saturday night.

While Mears and his team where thrilled to have practice speeds determine the starting order, Jimmie Johnson and his No.48 would be on the direct opposite side of the fence.

Opting not to make a qualifying run in the first practice session, Johnson will start Saturday night’s race 37th after posting the 41st fastest time in the session.

The only person having a rougher day at Bristol than Johnson would be Danica Patrick.

After handling issues in her Nationwide car in their practice session, fortunes didn’t get better for Patrick in the Sprint Cup Series after posting the slowest time in the first practice.

Patrick will start Saturday nights race in the 43rd position.

Drivers failing to make the starting field for the race where; Kelly Bires, Scott Speed, Reed Sorenson, and J.J. Yeley per the NASCAR rule book.

Irwin Tools Night Race Starting Lineup: 

1: Casey Mears

2: Brad Keselowski

3: Greg Biffle

4: Joey Logano

5: Aric Almirola

6: Jeff Burton

7: Paul Menard

8: Denny Hamlin

9: Marcos Ambrose

10: Kyle Busch

11: Jeff Gordon

12: Kasey Kahne

13: Kevin Harvick

14: Regan Smith

15: Martin Truex Jr.

16: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

17: Matt Kenseth

18: David Gilliland

19: Ryan Newman

20: Kurt Busch

21: Tony Stewart

22: Brian Vickers

23: Clint Bowyer

24: David Ragan

25: Dave Blaney

26: Jamie McMurray

27: Carl Edwards

28: Juan Pablo

29: Sam Hornish Jr.

30: Michael McDowell

31: David Stremme

32: Josh Wise

33: Landon Cassill

34: Mike Bliss

35: Scott Riggs

36: Bobby Labonte

37: Jimmie Johnson

38: Stephen Leicht

39: Jason Leffler

40: Joe Nemechek

41: Travis Kvapil

42: Ken Schrader

43: Danica Patrick