CONCORD, N.C. - The steady drizzle that first canceled the afternoon Sprint Cup practice session didn't subside, and NASCAR called off qualifying for Saturday night's race 90 minutes before it was scheduled to begin Thursday.

The field was set based on owner points. Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards, 72 points behind the leader, will start on the front row of the Bank of America 500 on Saturday at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the midpoint race in the Chase for the Cup.

After winning five of six points races at the track from 2003 to '05, Johnson hasn't won since, coinciding with the track's resurfacing. He finished 39th in May's Coca-Cola 600 after blowing an engine.

"The advantage we had years back has kind of gone away," Johnson said. "... We've been right there. We've been a good top-five car, but I hope we can get that magic back and find it here."

Greg Biffle, 77 points behind Johnson, will start third, followed by Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick.

The rain prevented four drivers of part-time teams a chance to make the race. Brad Keselowski, Scott Speed and Bryan Clauson were trying to make their first Sprint Cup start. Veteran Derrike Cope also went home.

Hamlin cleared to race

Denny Hamlin was cleared to drive in Saturday's race despite an overnight stay in an Alabama hospital following his hard wreck at Talladega Superspeedway. Hamlin had a headache and sore ankle when his tire failed. His car shot up the track and into the outside wall.