Nationwide Series rookie Dakoda Armstrong will be glad that a weather front moved in and reduced today's qualifying session for tonight's race to just one 20 minute session, as it resulted in him getting his first ever pole in the series.
Trevor Bayne in the #6 car will start on the front row along with the driver of the #43 car tonight. The highest ranked Sprint Cup Series driver was Kyle Busch who will be on the third row and rookie sensation Chase Elliott will be on the fourth row alongside former Nationwide Series points leader Regan Smith. Truck Series driver Darrell Wallace Jr will be on row five with Sprint Cup Series rookie Kyle Larson.
Rain was expected during either the Nationwide Series qualifying or the Sprint Cup Series qualifying, with the latter facing cancelation due to heavy rain over Daytona International Speedway, which arrived with eight minutes remaining in the first 25 minute session.
Spotters and NASCAR failed to notice the flash shower as it started to hit midway down the back stretch as a group of 12 cars were making their way up to speed. By the time the rain started, the pack of cars were on top of it and Mike Bliss in the #19 car was the first to spin out, along with a list of other drivers.
That list included Benny Gordon in the #91 car, who needed to race his way into the event as 45 drivers were battling for just 40 spaces in the race tonight. Along with Gordon the four other drivers to miss out were Blake Koch, Matt Dibendietto, Tommy Joe Martins - who had some issues with Kyle Busch early in the session - and Bobby Gerhart.
Martins in the #76 car was almost spun out by Cup driver Busch when he and the other two Joe Gibbs cars came up on the back of the #76 machine, but there was no room for them to get past so Busch had to slam on the brakes and clipped Martins, thankfully no one crashed or sustained much damage.
At the start of the 25 minute session there was a big rush to the exit of the pits where everybody waited for the other drivers and teams to make the first move out onto the track, with Cup Series regular Joey Logano in the #22 car going out first to lead a pack of 11 drivers around.
After ten minutes of the session, eventual pole sitter Armstrong went to the top of the charts and would surprisingly stay there even though a number of drivers were logging laps around the massive 2.5 mile track.
With 8 and a half minutes left on the clock, a group of 12 drivers started to make their way back out to make a second run, but lo and behold a burst of weather arrived, causing some to crash and sustain heavy damage.
The teams of the cars that were involved in the wreck will have a lot of work to repair the cars in time for tonight's race or they will have to go to a back-up car, in which the driver has had no practice, and may mean it isn't in the correct configuration for the restrictor plate race.
Drivers involved in the wreck were Scott Lagasse Jr, Robert Richardson Jr, Mike Bliss, Joe Nemechek, Eric McClure, Landon Cassill, Ross Chastain and Benny Gordon.
The shower was brief and restricted to just the backstretch of the track and the air titans made their way onto the surface, but just as they had got the track dry and ready for session two the rain arrived again so NASCAR decided to cancel the rest of qualifying.