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NASCAR Daytona 2015 qualifying results: Ominous weather cancels qualifying, Dale Earnhardt Jr. awarded pole

Lightning and rain forced NASCAR to cancel Sprint Cup qualifying for Sunday night’s race at Daytona.

Inclement weather scrubbed Sprint Cup qualifying Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, giving Dale Earnhardt Jr. the pole position for Sunday night's Coke Zero 400.

Per its rulebook, NASCAR determined which 43 drivers qualified by owners' points (positions 1-36) and qualifying attempts (37-43). The starting lineup was then set based on speeds posted in Friday's first session of practice.

Earnhardt (202.284 mph) and Austin Dillon will share the front row, with Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard and Trevor Bayne third through fifth, respectively. David Gilliland, AJ Allmendinger, David Ragan, Jamie McMurray and Kasey Kahne complete the top 10.

Qualifying was to begin at 4:35 p.m. ET, but dark clouds and lightning in the area prompted officials to evacuate the grandstands and put the proceedings under a delay. NASCAR announced the cancellation just past 5:45 p.m.

Because of the threat of poor weather Saturday, Earnhardt's crew chief, Greg Ives, instructed him to go out and post a fast time right away Friday. The decision proved wise and now Earnhardt will have the No. 1 choice of pit stalls.

"That will be great to have that first stall because if we had a shot to win this race we are going to need to be up on the front row towards those last couple of restarts," Earnhardt said. "That pit selection will give us an opportunity to be more competitive on pit road trying to get that sought after position coming off pit road that final stop."

Jeff Gordon will start 23rd in his final Daytona start. The four-time Cup Series champion is retiring at the end of the season. Danica Patrick, who was fastest in Friday's second practice, will line up 27th.

Ryan Blaney and Michael McDowell were the two drivers who failed to qualify, as their teams had the fewest attempts this season. The news was especially disappointing for Blaney, who had a strong outing in the Daytona 500 and finished a career-best fourth in May at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR's other restrictor-plate track.

"I was really looking forward to qualifying and getting into the race," Blaney said. "Some stuff we can't control and this is one of them. This is the bad part about running part-time."