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Johnson to line up fifth after rain cancels Kentucky qualifying

Johnson to line up fifth after rain cancels Kentucky qualifying

SPARTA, Ky. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin turned laps inside the top 10 during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying Friday at Kentucky Speedway. But their efforts were nullified after rain settled in over the 1.5-mile racetrack and prompted NASCAR officials to cancel the session. As a result, Saturday’s starting lineup was set according to the speeds posted during Friday’s solo practice session.

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, scored the fastest speed among his teammates during Friday’s practice. He will start fifth.

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, will line up 14th, while Martin will roll off the grid 28th in his No. 5 Quaker State/ Chevrolet. Earnhardt picked up the 29th-fastest practice speed so that’s where he’ll start in his No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet.

The Quaker State 400 marks the first NASCAR Sprint Cup event for Kentucky Speedway, although the drivers did pick up some experience this week during a test on Thursday and Friday’s practice.

When it comes to 1.5-mile racetracks, Hendrick Motorsports has totaled 29 wins, 122 top-five finishes, 191 top-10s and 29 pole positions at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.

Saturday’s race will be televised at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT.