Rain washes out all events; Kenseth takes pole by points

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Friends stroll along the empty pit road on Friday as rain continues to keep fans away. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gene Shaner)

DOVER — The only thing on the track at Dover International Speedway on Friday were puddles and puddles of rain.

All on-track activities scheduled for Friday were canceled, including qualifying for the Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The starting lineup for the AAA 400 will be set by points, meaning Matt Kenseth will be on the pole.

All practice sessions were also canceled for the Cup Series, as were qualifying and practice for the XFINITY Series. The Drive Sober 125 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race has been rescheduled for 9:30 a.m. today.

Grandstand gates at Dover International Speedway will open for fans at 8 a.m.

As of now, the AAA 400 is still scheduled for Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

“I think we all would have liked to get on the track today and get some practice,” Kenseth said on Friday. “I know there are some things we wanted to work on and try to improve from the spring for this race. I think everybody wants to get on the track. … Glad we’re starting in the front, but still would have liked the track time.”

The “Hisense 200” XFINITY Series race will start at the originally scheduled time of 3:30 p.m. today.

Because the K&N Pro East Series and XFINITY Series will be run on the same day, Dover International Speedway will allow anyone with a previously purchased NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race ticket or a NASCAR XFINITY Series race ticket to remain in the grandstands for both events if they choose.

The ticket holder that holds the ticket for that specific event will have priority (i.e. a ticket to the NASCAR XFINITY Series race during the running of that race) for the seating location. The other ticket holder is asked to move to a nearby, or general admission, seating area for the event. Fans are asked to contact an usher with any questions or concerns.

Both of the starting lineups for today’s races will also be set by points.

The grandstand never officially opened on Friday, but that didn’t stop fans from milling about the campgrounds and parking lots, hoping to see some racing.

“That is what makes our sport and our fans amazing,” Jeff Gordon said. “I met with 15 or 20 of my biggest fans earlier this morning and this doesn’t stop them. It doesn’t slow them down. I know they would love be to be in the grandstands watching cars go around race track but what has made this sport so great and so successful is the loyal, avid fans that we ave that figure out how to enjoy themselves even when the rain doesn’t stop.”

Kenseth and Denny Hamlin, the two race-winners from the first round of the Chase for the Cup, will share the front row on Sunday. They are the only two drivers to clinch advancement to the next round thanks to their victories.

The rest of the 12 drivers in the “Challenger Round” will be determined in Sunday’s elimination race as the playoffs are whittled down from 16 to 12.

Carl Edwards will start third, Joey Logano fourth and Jimmie Johnson, who won at Dover in the spring, will start fifth.

Not only does Kenseth get the pole, he also has first choice of what pit stall he wants.

“It’s one of the advantage of leading the points,” Kenseth said. “Obviously if it rains, you get a good starting spot and pit stall.”

One person who shouldn’t be too worried about the loss of practice time is Johnson. He is the all-time record holder at Dover with 10 victories.

“It wouldn’t be the end of the world if we weren’t on the track a lot,” Johnson said. “I mean, we do know the track very well. We have had success here year after year.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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