Rain Hands Mears Bristol Pole

GEICO will remain as sponsor of the No. 13 Germain Racing Ford through the 2014 season. (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)
Casey Mears was awarded the pole for Saturday's Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway after rain washed out qualifying. (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Casey Mears will start from the pole for Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway after rain washed out qualifying Friday.

Moments after NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying wrapped up, a thunderstorm drenched the track. When officials realized how long it was going to take to dry the track, it was decided to cancel qualifying and set the starting order by the rule book.

Mears, who was the fastest man in the first practice and was scheduled to go out last in qualifying, was awarded the pole as a result. Brad Keselowski, who has won the last two Bristol Sprint Cup events, will start second.

Last year NASCAR changed the rules regarding qualifying rainouts, stating that if the first practice was run but qualifying was rained out, then the field would be set based on that practice session. That is how Mears earned the pole for Saturday’s event at Bristol.

Greg Biffle, Joey Logano and Aric Almirola completed the top five. Jimmie Johnson, who struggled during the first practice session Friday, will start 37th.

The go-or-go-homers that made the race were Michael McDowell, David Stremme, Josh Wise, Mike Bliss, Scott Riggs, Stephen Leicht, Jason Leffler and Joe Nemechek.

Scott Speed, Kelly Bires, Reed Sorenson and J.J. Yeley did not make the field.