Thunderstorms descended upon the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway in the late afternoon on Friday. The heavy rains, thunder and lightning ultimately forced NASCAR to cancel Sprint Cup qualifying.
When qualifying is cancelled, NASCAR has a series of rules that determine the starting grid, based upon how much track activity occurred prior to the rainout. Since the first practice session was completed, the field was set using a combination of the speeds from that practice and race attempts. As a result, Kevin Harvick, who was fastest in practice, will start from the pole. Joey Logano will start alongside.
12 of the top 14 qualifiers are in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Those Chasers starting outside the top 14 are Paul Menard in 16th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 19th, Clint Bowyer in 26th and Denny Hamlin in 29th.
The three drivers who failed to qualify are Ryan Blaney, Travis Kvapil and Michael McDowell. These three drivers had the least number of race attempts. For Blaney and McDowell, it is the third time this year that they’ve had to pack up and go home early because of qualifying being rained out. The DNQ especially hurts for Blaney since he was ninth quickest in practice and had a chance at a good qualifying effort.