NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's Auto Club 400 at Fontana's Auto Club Speedway

Get set for NASCAR's fifth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the season

The starting lineup is set for Sunday's Auto Club 400, the fifth race of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. The sport returns to its new, reduced horsepower package for this race they're using on intermediate tracks this season. Fontana’s two-mile oval marks the first time it'll be tried on a track this size.

 

Austin Dillon won the pole for Sunday's race after a bizarre qualifying session. During the final round, none of the 12 drivers eligible made it to the finish line in time to complete a lap. NASCAR was forced to revert to the previous round of qualifying and set the first six rows based on those times.

 

38 cars will start the race at Auto Club Speedway, two short of a full 40-car field as just two unchartered teams made an attempt. Dillon's speed of 180.081 miles an hour was down significantly from the 186.567 mph mark set by Martin Truex Jr. in winning the pole last year.

 

1. Austin Dillon

2. Kevin Harvick

3. Aric Almirola

4. Kyle Busch

5. Joey Logano

6. Denny Hamlin

7. Ryan Newman

8. Chase Elliott

9. Clint Bowyer

10. Ryan Blaney

11. Jimmie Johnson

12. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

13. Brad Keselowski

14. Chris Buescher

15. Kyle Larson

16. Ty Dillon

17. Daniel Hemric (R)

18. Erik Jones

19. David Ragan

20. Daniel Suarez

21. Kurt Busch

22. William Byron

23. Alex Bowman

24. Matt DiBenedetto

25. Paul Menard

26. Ryan Preece (R)

27. Martin Truex Jr.

28. Bubba Wallace

29. Michael McDowell

30. Corey Lajoie

31. Ross Chastain (i)

32. Matt Tifft (R)

33. Landon Cassill

34. Cody Ware (R)

35. Reed Sorenson

36. BJ McLeod (i)

37. Garrett Smithley (i)

38. Joey Gase (i)

 

(i) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

(R) – Rookie of the Year Candidate

 

Failed To Qualify

None

 

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Sunday’s Auto Club 400 marks just the fourth pole of Dillon’s career and first since November 2016 at Texas Motor Speedway. So far, it’s not been a good omen for him. His three previous poles produced just one top-10 finish, only seven laps led and one DNF.
  • Aric Almirola (3rd) has the best Auto Club Speedway qualifying effort of his career. He’d had just one previous top-10 start (10th) in 11 attempts.
  • Kyle Busch (4th) has his seventh top-10 start at ACS in his last eight attempts. He’ll have two shots to grab win 200 in NASCAR’s top three series, during this race and the NASCAR Xfinity Series event on Saturday.
  • Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin (6th) has started inside the top 10 in all five races this season. His 5.0 average start leads the Cup Series.
  • Ryan Newman (7th) has his first top-10 start of the season but also lost his car chief, Todd Brewer, after the No. 6 car failed prequalifying inspection twice.
  • Last year’s pole sitter Martin Truex Jr. (27th) had his worst qualifying effort of the season with his new Joe Gibbs Racing team.
  • Reed Sorenson (35th) qualified with the No. 27 RimRyderz Chevrolet in an unchartered effort manned by Premium Motorsports. It’s the first time the car’s seen the track since a Daytona 500 partnership between Germain Racing and Premium Motorsports put Casey Mears in the car. The Premium team plans to bring this car out and run a limited schedule when manpower and funding permits.
  • BJ McLeod (36th) is back in the No. 52 Rick Ware Racing Ford this week. Bayley Currey was in the car last week at ISM Raceway, bringing sponsorship after McLeod had run the first three races of the season with the team.
  • Garrett Smithley (37th) returns to the Spire Motorsports Chevrolet this week for the first time since Atlanta last month. The new team continues to run a merry-go-round of drivers on a limited schedule.

 

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: Auto Club 400

Track: Auto Club Speedway

Date: Sunday, March 17

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: FOX, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400 miles

Stage 1: 60 Laps

Stage 2: 60 Laps

Final Stage: 80 Laps

 

PRE-RACE ANALYSIS

Ryan Truex stops by to reminisce about Phoenix and talk Auto Club Speedway with Dustin Albino, Mike Neff and the Frontstretch podcast crew.

Event Date: 
Sunday, March 10, 2019 - 15:30
Include in Acu Data Feed: 
Exclude from Acu-data Feed

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