If Carl Edwards
holds on to his current point lead and goes on to win his first career Cup Series title, he may have to thank Mother Nature. Rain forced the cancellation of qualifying at Martinsville Speedway Saturday, setting the field by owner points and putting Edwards on the pole at a track that has been one of his worst. Martinsville is known for tough passing conditions and a treacherous pit road, and now, Edwards will have track position and the best pit stall both working in his favor. Sunday's race is still his biggest hurdle, but that hurdle has suddenly gotten a lot smaller.
Of course, the same can be said for his teammate and second-place Matt Kenseth as well as fourth-place Tony Stewart. Kenseth hasn't been much better at Martinsville than Edwards, but starting on the outside of the front row should help his cause. Meanwhile, Stewart - a notoriously terrible qualifier - will roll off inside the top five at one of his better tracks. Not to mention the fact that all three title contenders will enjoy the added benefit of avoiding the bumping and banging that goes on in the middle of the pack at the start of the race.
While Edwards, Kenseth and Stewart were among the beneficiaries of Saturday's washout, potential sleeper picks like Jamie McMurray, Joey Logano and Juan Pablo Montoya all have their work cut out for them. All three have had success at Martinsville in the past, but they will now start outside the top 20 this weekend. Granted, a poor qualifying effort shouldn't eliminate them from fantasy consideration, but all three options are a bit riskier than they would have been had they qualified closer to the front.
About Brian Polking
Racing has been part of Brian's life ever since he can remember, and he spent his childhood at dirt tracks throughout Ohio and Kentucky watching his father race. NASCAR naturally became his favorite sport, and he has been following the Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series for most of his life. Brian majored in journalism and economics at Ohio State University and becoming a sports writer has always been his dream. Although he has covered everything from minor league baseball to the NCAA tournament, his passion has always been NASCAR. Brian has served as a NASCAR writer for a variety of sites, eventually becoming head editor of the NASCAR section for Fanball.com. His knowledge of NASCAR comes from his life-long love of racing, and he tries to add a personal touch to every article he writes. Brian is always up for talking NASCAR with anyone that wants to. Brian joined KFFL's team in 2011.
Don't miss these great reports....