Tony Stewart will be hoping for rain before every qualifying round if events keep going the way they have the last two times he qualified for a NASCAR event. Friday’s qualifying round for Sunday’s Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 was canceled due to persistent rain falling on the 2.5-mile triangular venue of Pocono Raceway.
Marking the second time in as many events that qualifying for an event has been canceled due to inclement weather and the fifth time this year a qualifying round for a Sprint Cup race has been canceled due to rain. This is important in that Tony Stewart is driving the car that leads the Cup standings and will therefore for the second straight race inherit the pole and first choice of lanes thanks to the arrival of rain. The top 35 teams in the Cup standings fill out the top 35 positions of a Sprint Cup race is qualifying is unable to be completed or run due to weather. Currently Tony Stewart leads Jimmie Johnson by 192 points in the Cup standings with just six competitions to go before the Chase on Sept 12 at Richmond.
This rule and the arrival of rain will also mean that Jimmie Johnson, who is second in the Cup standings, will start beside Tony Stewart on the outside of the front row. Jeff Gordon will start on the second row, next to Kyle Busch, while Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin and Juan Montoya will fill out fourth through tenth on the Sunday’s grid for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500.
Starting in front is always an advantage in any race that I have witness and being in front will certainly give the front runners in this race an advantage, but you can win without starting on the pole. NASCAR events are a shoot-out that often goes to the driver with the best combination of timing, driving skill and help from the racing-gods. This fact along means Sunday’s Sprint Cup competition on the Pocono Raceway will be a dice roll and that’s the way it should be.