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NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Denny Hamlin starts on the pole as Toyotas triumph in qualifying

The second half of the 2022 NASCAR regular season begins with its longest race of the year. The Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be a test of endurance for the sport’s new Next Gen chassis, a 400-lap race in what’s considered a crown jewel event for the Cup Series.

Related: Coca-Cola 600 Preview

Sunday’s race will also serve as another test for how much the new car can fix aerodynamic problems on these 1.5-mile ovals. Charlotte’s competition has been gutted in recent years, cars unable to run side-by-side or pass while one driver pulls away out front. The racing here had gotten so bad Charlotte gave up one of its dates in favor of the infield road course. The success of its ROVAL created a modern phenomenon that has seen other tracks, like Indianapolis, start utilizing these alternate courses.

But the long-term goal is to get this oval back up and running with a quality of racing that matches the prestige of NASCAR’s 600-mile event. So far, so good in practice, drivers running closer together while it’s clear it won’t be follow-the-leader as teams struggle to find a rhythm with this car. Corey LaJoie was one of several drivers who had issues, crashing hard and forced into a backup for Sunday’s main event. Defending NASCAR champion Kyle Larson also failed to take a lap in qualifying after his practice spin.

Thirty-seven cars are entered for this event, leaving the Cup Series three short of a full 40-car field. The 36 teams with guaranteed spots came to race along with the No. 50 The Money Team Racing car owned by boxer Floyd Mayweather.

Out front, Toyotas took center stage, Denny Hamlin winning the pole as one of four Camrys inside the top four spots. The only Toyota driver to qualify outside the top 10 was Martin Truex Jr., a two-time Coca-Cola 600 winner, who wound up 14th.

1. Denny Hamlin
2. Kurt Busch
3. Christopher Bell
4. Kyle Busch
5. William Byron
6. Austin Cindric (R)
7. Bubba Wallace
8. Tyler Reddick
9. Alex Bowman
10. Michael McDowell
11. Ryan Blaney
12. Daniel Suarez
13. Chase Elliott
14. Martin Truex Jr.
15. Chase Briscoe
16. Austin Dillon
17. Harrison Burton (R)
18. Kevin Harvick
19. Chris Buescher
20. Justin Haley
21. Cole Custer
22. Ross Chastain
23. Joey Logano
24. Aric Almirola
25. Erik Jones
26. Ryan Preece (i)
27. Noah Gragson (i)
28. Ty Dillon
29. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
30. Todd Gilliland (R)
31. BJ McLeod
32. Josh Bilicki (i)
33. Cody Ware
34. Kaz Grala (i)
35. Brad Keselowski
36. Kyle Larson
37. Corey LaJoie

(R) – Rookie
(i) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

Qualifying Notes

  • Denny Hamlin (first) earned his first pole since the fall 2019 Cup race at Martinsville Speedway. He is still seeking his first Coca-Cola 600 victory and has yet to win on the Charlotte oval in 30 career Cup starts.
  • Kurt Busch (second) earned his best starting position since joining 23XI Racing prior to the 2022 Cup season.
  • William Byron (fifth) was the highest-qualifying Chevrolet driver.
  • Austin Cindric (sixth) was both the fastest rookie and the fastest out of the Ford camp.
  • Bubba Wallace (seventh) had his best qualifying effort of the season.
  • Michael McDowell (10th) earned his first top-10 starting spot since the season-opening Daytona 500.
  • Ryan Preece (26th) replaces J.J. Yeley behind the wheel of the No. 15 Rick Ware Racing Ford. Preece is running a limited schedule for the team this season with support coming from Stewart-Haas Racing.
  • Kaz Grala (34th) returns behind the wheel of the No. 50 The Money Team Racing Chevrolet. It’s the team’s third start of the year and first since Circuit of the Americas back in March.
  • Kyle Larson (36th) is the race’s defending winner. He and Corey LaJoie (37th) failed to turn a lap in qualifying.

Related: Best Charlotte Motor Speedway Drivers for DraftKings

NASCAR Race Breakdown

Race: Coca-Cola 600
Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway (Charlotte, N.C.)
Date: Sunday, May 29
TV: FOX, 6 p.m. ET
Distance: 400 laps (600 miles)
Stage 1: 100 Laps
Stage 2: 100 Laps
Stage 3: 100 Laps
Final Stage: 100 Laps

Pre-Race Preview

Frontstretch Podcast hosts Davey Segal and Bryan Nolen welcome NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Derek Kraus to the program. Kraus speaks with Michael Massie about his up-and-down year in that division before Segal and Nolen preview the Charlotte race and share some special news about Davey’s own future.

Don't forget about Athlon Sports' 2022 Racing magazine. With 144 pages of racing content, it's the most complete preview available today. Click here to get your copy or purchase the digital edition for instant access.