Rain Makes Winners & Losers

3/26/10 in NASCAR   |   CRAZY_LADY   |   355 respect

Kevin Harvick will lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody's Fast Pain Relief at Martinsville Speedway from the pole. (Photo: LAT Photographic)
With steady rain washing out NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying at Martinsville Speedway, Mother Nature — with an assist from the NASCAR rule book — made for some definite winners and losers heading into Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500.

The rainout means that the field is set by the NASCAR rule book, with the top 35 set by Sprint Cup owner points and the rest of the field by a series of tiebreakers.

WINNER: KEVIN HARVICK — The current points leader runs OK at Martinsville, but not great. In 17 starts here, Harvick has never finished better than seventh. But he’ll start from the pole on Sunday, which gives him the crucial No. 1 pit stall, a huge advantage at Martinsville.

LOSER: DENNY HAMLIN — One of the absolute best at Martinsville, Hamlin will start Sunday’s race from 19th, making it harder on him to get to the front then it ought to be. Then again, he won from the 17th qualifying spot last fall here.

WINNER: ROUSH FENWAY RACING — In practice Friday, Roush Fenway teammates Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle were just 25th and 22nd fastest, respectively. Now, they’ll start the race second and fourth, far better than they deserve based on speed alone.

LOSER: RYAN NEWMAN — Fastest in practice of the 46 cars setting time, the man Kurt Busch used to call “The King of Fridays,” will have nothing to show for his efforts. He’ll roll off Sunday in 26th spot, which will make it awfully challenging for him to win or post a top-five finish.

WINNER: JIMMIE JOHNSON — Doesn’t everything that happens in NASCAR always work out in the favor of the No. 48 team? Johnson, a six-time Bristol winner, will start the race third, on the inside of Row 2.

LOSER: JUAN PABLO MONTOYA — Just 22nd in NASCAR Sprint Cup owner points, the Colombian driver consistently was one of the fastest drivers during practice at Martinsville, though it’s all for naught.

WINNER: PAUL MENARD — Starting ninth looks great for Menard given that he was 33rd in practice. It also gives him a much stronger chance of staying in the top 10 in points.

LOSERS: CASEY MEARS, JOHNNY SAUTER, TERRY COOK — All three of these drivers will miss the race on Sunday.

Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for You can follow him online at and e-mail him at Jensen is the author of Cheating: The Bad Things Good NASCAR Nextel Cup Racers Do In Pursuit of Speed,” and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Jensen is the past President of the National Motorsports Press Association and an NMPA Writer of the Year.

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