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Chaos At Daytona

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Rain shortened Friday’s qualifying for tonight’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway to just one wild session.

NASCAR’s new qualifying rules were used for the first time at Daytona and produced some wild moments in the first round of qualifying as some team drivers formed small groups to try to get behind other larger groups to attain the fastest speed. But no one wanted to lead the way. The big speed differential produced a few tense moments with some packs of cars creeping around the 2 1/2 mile superspeedway and others going 200 mph.

Major catastrophe was averted and the starting grid for tonight’s race was determined based on this single round of qualifying because rain forced NASCAR to cancel the final two sessions. David Gilliland wound up with the Sprint Cup pole. Gilliland’s Front Row Motorsports team is good at NASCAR’s two restrictor plate tracks – Daytona and Talladega. He set fast time for in 2006 at Talledega and in 2007 at the Daytona 500 and finished third in the 2011 Daytona 500. Gilliland’s teammate David Ragan has also won at both Daytona and Talladega. He starts eighth tonight. Here is the complete starting lineup.

In local racing Friday night, Craig Hanson grabbed the big money by winning the modified feature at the Glen Ridge Motorsports Park. At Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Austrailian Peter Britten beat Brett Hearn to the checkers followed by Kenny Tremont, Marc Johnson and Ronnie Johnson.

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