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Harvick on M'ville Cup and Truck pole thanks to rain

Truck practice cut short, both quals washed out

By Dave Rodman, NASCAR.COM
March 26, 2010
07:40 PM EDT
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MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Rain that threatened Martinsville Speedway all day Friday brought a premature end to Truck Series final practice and wiped out qualifying sessions for Saturday's Truck race and Sunday's Cup event.

On account of the weather, Kevin Harvick won two poles, he said for the first time in his career. Neither he nor Cup front-row partner Matt Kenseth are particularly good qualifiers, with five and four career poles, respectively.

Goody's Pain Relief 500

Pos. Driver Make
1. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet
2. Matt Kenseth Ford
3. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet
4. Greg Biffle Ford
5. Tony Stewart Chevrolet

Kroger 250

Pos. Driver Make
1. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet
2. Aric Almirola Toyota
3. Matt Crafton Chevrolet
4. Mike Skinner Toyota
5. Timothy Peters Toyota

"I don't usually pay much attention to qualifying, so I've probably not done it," Harvick said. "Obviously, if you're going to have [rain] happen and start up front, this is the place you want to do it. But this could be the worst-qualifying front row you've ever seen [laughter].

"We've had a good, solid five weeks and that's what we set out to do at the beginning of the year -- to start well and run solid -- to run up front and lead laps. Fortunately we've been able to do that and I hope we'll be able to have 31 more."

For the first time this season for either series, lineups were set according to the respective series' rulebooks. So Harvick will lead the 43-car field for the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 to the green flag on Sunday.

After five Cup races, Harvick's No. 29 Richard Childress Racing team has a one-point lead on 2003 Cup champion Matt Kenseth's No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing squad, which also will start on the front row.

"We don't usually qualify very well here -- I don't really qualify very well anywhere, but especially here -- so to start second is good," Kenseth said. "We got all our practice in, so it's good to take advantage of being up there in the points.

"This place, I've started in the back many times and been lapped many times. You struggle all day trying to stay on the lead lap, so hopefully, if you start up front and don't make mistakes and keep the track position, it can be an advantage here to get a decent finish."

Forty-six Cup cars were entered for the season's sixth race, the first time 2010 points were used to set the lineup. The cars of Casey Mears, Terry Cook and Johnny Sauter were lowest in owners' points so were excluded when the rainout lineup was set.

Because 2009 Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday, Kevin Harvick Inc.'s other driver, has a past champion's provisional available to him, his truck's owners' points were transferred to the No. 2 Chevrolet, which this weekend is driven by the team owner. Hornaday will roll off 31st in Saturday's race.

Truck Series runner-up Matt Crafton will line up second in his No. 88 ThorSport Racing Chevrolet.

"This season, we're looking to be just as good as last year, when we were a championship contender all year," Crafton said. "Last year, our mile-and-a-half program was real good and we struggled on the short tracks, but with what I saw in practice, I'm real confident we've improved on this short track."

Thirty-nine trucks were entered. The trucks of Dennis Setzer, Paddy Rodenbeck and Dale Brackett, who were each making their first attempts of the season, were sent home.

Two Cup Series practice sessions are scheduled Saturday, with final practice scheduled from 11:50 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. ET.

HLN Weather Blast: Martinsville

RaceBuddy on tap for Truck race

Kevin's Krew reaching youths
First pit stall is an advantage


Cup Series
• Qualifying at Martinsville has been canceled three times in the past four races; seven times in 123 races overall.
• Tony Stewart leads all drivers with six victories in races where time trials were canceled
• Ryan Newman, Mark Martin, Marcos Ambrose, Jeff Gordon and Denny Hamlin were the five fastest cars in first practice.

Truck Series
• Qualifying at Martinsville was canceled for the third time in 23 Truck races.
• Seven drivers will make their Truck debut at Martinsville: Narain Karthikeyan, Tony Jackson Jr., Chris Eggleston, Brian Johnson Jr., Clay Greenfield, Lance Fenton and D.J. Kennington.
• Powered by Racing Recall

The End

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