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Sudden rain causes crash in nationwide qualifying

July 04, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com

Wet weather sparks nine-car incident, halts Daytona qualifying

RELATED: Armstrong claims first pole | Play NASCAR Fantasy Live

A freak multicar wreck halted Friday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, when a pop-up rain shower dampened the backstretch of Daytona International Speedway.

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The nine-car crash red-flagged qualifying at the 17-minute mark of the opening 25-minute session when a sudden shower caused Mike Bliss' car to break loose on the backstretch. His slide blocked portions of the slick track, first snaring TriStar Motorsports teammate Eric McClure and then involving Joe Nemechek, Benny Gordon, Ross Chastain, Scott Lagasse Jr., Matt DiBenedetto, Blake Koch and Robert Richardson Jr.

Race officials began the track-drying process on the backstraight but the emergence of sprinkles on the frontstretch canceled the second and third rounds of qualifying plus the remaining 7 minutes and 44 seconds of the opening session. That left Dakoda Armstrong as a first-time pole winner at 192.123 mph with Trevor Bayne, Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed behind him in a 1-2-3-4 sweep of Fords atop the leaderboard.

Gordon, Koch and DiBenedetto were among those who failed to qualify for the 40-car field.

It was the second straight instance of Nationwide Series qualifying at Daytona being interrupted by rain. Dylan Kwasniewski scored the pole position in rain-shortened Nationwide qualifying at the 2.5-mile track in February.

The Subway Firecracker 250 is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start Friday night with broadcast airing on ESPN2.

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