Rain has plagued NASCAR once again. For the second time this season, qualifying at the Talladega Superspeedway has been canceled due to rain showers. Per NASCAR rule book, when qualifying is rained out, the starting lineup is set based upon the first practice results.
Aric Almirola will lead the field to the green flag for the Camping World RV Sales 500 at Talladega on Sunday afternoon. The pole won’t count towards a spot in the 2014 Sprint Unlimited (formerly known as the Budweiser Shootout) since qualifying didn’t occur. However, it will be the second time in his career that Almirola will start up front for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. His first career pole came last year at Charlotte during the Coca-Cola 600-race weekend. The pole comes for a team that had to deal with losing their crew chief, Todd Parrott, this week as NASCAR suspended him.
Jeff Burton will start in the second position in his No. 31 Chevrolet. Burton is still trying to make a deal for the 2014 season, but is close to signing with a team. Almirola’s teammate, Marcos Ambrose, will start in the third position, as the pair of Ford’s looked strong during practice.
There will be some bright spots in the starting grid since qualifying was canceled. Martin Truex Jr. will start fourth in one of his final races in the No. 56 Toyota. David Ragan, who memorably won the Talladega race earlier in the year, will start seventh. His teammate, Josh Wise, who still has not resigned with Front Row Motorsports, will start 14th.
Championship leader, Matt Kenseth, will start from the 12th position. Ironically, his toughest challenger, Jimmie Johnson, will start right in front of Kenseth in the 11th position.
Austin Dillon returns to the seat of the No. 14 Chevrolet as he will fill in for Tony Stewart this weekend. Dillon will start 16th as he attempts to get seat time before his first full-time Sprint Cup Series season. Sam Hornish Jr. missed the race as his No. 12 Ford had the least amount of attempts out of the 44 entries.
Michael Waltrip, Terry Labonte and Justin Allgaier are each making starts this weekend. For Labonte, it will be his 886th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.