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NASCAR At Bristol: Rain Puts Casey Mears On First Pole Since 2007

Rain washed out Sprint Cup qualifying at the Bristol Motor Speedway Friday evening, and thanks to the rule that the first practice speeds - the same ones that set the qualifying order - set the field in the event of rain, Casey Mears will lead the field to the green flag in Saturday's Irwin Tools Night Race.

Mears, who last sat on the pole at Chicagoland in 2007, drives the No. 13 Germain Racing Ford. Non-NASCAR fans have probably still seen him in an ad for primary sponsor Geico ("Hey! SECRET sauce!") that has been airing in 2012. It is the fourth pole - though it doesn't count officially and doesn't get Mears into the Shootout at Daytona in February - nephew of four-time Indy 500 champion and all-time open wheel icon Rick Mears.

Brad Keselowski - in his Rusty Wallace tribute Miller Lite Dodge - will start second as he seeks his third-straight Bristol victory. Point leader Greg Biffle, Joey Logano, and Aric Almirola in The King Richard Petty's famous No. 43 complete the top-five.

Rounding out the top-10 are Jeff Burton, Paul Menard, Denny Hamlin, Marcos Ambrose, and Kyle Busch.

Without a chance to take their shot at the stopwatch, several teams find themselves deep in the field thanks to the rain. Carl Edwards, a two-time Bristol winner who needs a victory between now and Richmond in order to make the Chase, will start 27th. Ten spots worse is five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.

Danica Patrick, who languished at the bottom of the speed chart pretty much all day in her first Sprint Cup trip to Bristol, will roll off 43rd.

Unadilla's David Ragan will start 24th.

Missing the show are Scott Speed - who intended to broadcast his phone number to all of America during driver intros - Kelly Bires, Peachtree City's Reed Sorenson, and J.J. Yeley.

Visit for the full starting grid to see where your favorite - and least favorite - drivers are.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.