Las Vegas qualifying rained out, Keselowski on pole

By
Updated: March 8, 2013

Persistent rain forced NASCAR officials to
cancel Friday’s practice and qualifying sessions for the Kobalt Tools 400 at
Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

It’s the first time Sprint Cup Series qualifying at Las Vegas has been called
off. The series has been competing at this 1.5-mile racetrack each year since
1998.

Per NASCAR’s rule book, Brad Keselowski was awarded the pole since his No. 2
Penske Racing team finished first in the owner point standings in 2012. The
top-36 in last year’s owner points secured positions 1-36.

“I guess it’s one of the perks of being the (2012 Sprint Cup Series) champion
in the first few races,” Keselowski said. “Obviously with the rain, you kind
of have a great deal there. It’s the first time I’ve had a decent starting
position in a rainout, so that’s great. I feel pretty good about that.”

Clint Bowyer will line up next to Keselowski on the front row for Sunday’s
400-mile race at Las Vegas, which is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. ET. Jimmie
Johnson will start third, followed by Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle.

Sixth through 10th will be: Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kevin Harvick,
Tony Stewart, who won at Las Vegas for the first time last year, and Jeff
Gordon.

Danica Patrick will start 37th, based on her owner points ranking this year
(23rd).

Mike Bliss was the only driver who did not make the starting field.

Practice is scheduled for Saturday. Teams were at Las Vegas for a full day of
testing the new Sprint Cup race car, the Gen-6, on Thursday. There is no rain
in the forecast for the Las Vegas area during the remainder of this weekend.