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Kyle Busch gains pole at LifeLock 400 after rain washes out qualifying

Jul 11, 2008 - 4:07 AM JOLIET, Illinois (Ticker) -- Kyle Busch collected his fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup series pole of the season Thursday when heavy rain pounded Chicagoland Speedway, canceling qualifying for the LifeLock.com 400.

The field for Saturday night's race will be set according to car owner points, putting series points leader Busch in the first position in a Toyota. The Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start second.

A line of storms moved into the greater Chicago area, bringing with them huge dark blue clouds along with flashes of lightning across the sky.

"Hopefully, we can get the weather better for tomorrow. Maybe we can get another practice in," said Busch, who leads the series with six victories, including one at last week's Coke Zero 400.

The Chevy of Jeff Burton will start third alongside the Ford of Carl Edwards, while Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon will start in row three in Chevys.

""The skies were pretty ugly," Burton said. "There's going to be a learning curve, for sure, but I don't think qualifying tonight would have taught us anything about conditions for Saturday night."

Gordon is one of only a pair of two-time winners here. The other, Tony Stewart, will begin in 12th place in a Toyota.

On Wednesday, Stewart made big news by announcing he will be leaving Joe Gibbs Racing at the conclusion of the 2008 season. The 37-year-old, who has 32 victories on the NASCAR circuit and captured Cup series championships in 2002 and 2005, will be driving for himself as he formed a partnership to own 50 percent of the former Haas-CNC Racing team.

"It is an incredible opportunity that allows me to race competitively in NASCAR's top division while carving out a place in this sport long after my driving career is over," Stewart said during a news conference at the race track earlier Thursday.

Stewart won this event last year, while Earnhardt and Gordon took the checkered flag in 2005 and 2006, respectively.

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