NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's Gander RV 400 at Dover International Speedway

The Monster Mile is producing monstrous speeds heading into Sunday's NASCAR main event

It's out with the new, in with the old at Dover International Speedway's Monster Mile this weekend for the 2019 Gander RV 400. The 11th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the season features a return to single-car qualifying, an old school method of setting the field that had been used in stock car racing's top series for decades.

 

This week's rule change, eliminating group qualifying put to bed weeks of game-playing among Cup Series teams on pit road, their antics complicating what was once an entertaining way to set the starting grid. The low point came at Auto Club Speedway back in March when not a single car took time during the final round of NASCAR’s group qualifying system. Austin Dillon won the pole that weekend with a speed of 0.000 mph (officials used a previous round to break the tie).

 

With that, the writing was on the wall and a litany of small rule changes couldn't stop the madness with NASCAR's new handling package. The advantages of drafting were just too much on even the smallest tracks on the schedule; no team wanted to be the rabbit and give up much-needed track position. So the sport's knockout, multi-round qualifying format officially ended its five-year run this weekend.

 

With that crisis reaching its final climax the drama instead turned toward lightning-fast speeds. This weekend's pole-sitter Chase Elliott smashed the track record set by Brad Keselowski in 2014. He turned a lap of 21.692 seconds (165.960 mph), one of three to break the 165 mph barrier. Kurt Busch, who led Friday’s first practice, turned a lap at over 168 mph.

 

These are speeds simply unheard of for a track as small as Dover. Another one-mile track, ISM Raceway in Phoenix, had a pole speed of 141.087 mph this season... and that's with fresher, faster asphalt on its surface compared to Dover’s aging concrete.

 

37 cars attempted to qualify for 40 spots this weekend, meaning all cars made the race. Both cars from Premium Motorsports (Ross Chastain and Reed Sorenson) did not record an official time and will start at the rear of the field.

 

1. Chase Elliott

2. William Byron

3. Kyle Larson

4. Joey Logano

5. Alex Bowman

6. Kevin Harvick

7. Aric Almirola

8. Denny Hamlin

9. Brad Keselowski

10. Clint Bowyer

11. Ryan Blaney

12. Jimmie Johnson

13. Martin Truex Jr.

14. Daniel Suarez

15. Erik Jones

16. Austin Dillon

17. Matt DiBenedetto

18. Paul Menard

19. Kurt Busch

20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

21. Ryan Newman

22. Kyle Busch

23. Daniel Hemric

24. David Ragan

25. Ty Dillon

26. Michael McDowell

27. Bubba Wallace

28. Corey Lajoie

29. Ryan Preece

30. Chris Buescher

31. Landon Cassill (i)

32. Matt Tifft

33. Cody Ware (i)

34. B.J. McLeod (i)

35. Quin Houff

36. Ross Chastain (i)

37. Reed Sorenson

 

(i) - Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

 

Failed To Qualify

None

 

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Elliott earned his second pole of the season and sixth of his career. It’s the first time since 2016 he’s earned more than one pole in a single year. Elliott, who won the last Cup race held at Dover in the fall, is attempting to earn back-to-back victories for the first time in his Cup career.
  • William Byron (2nd) earned his fourth front-row start of the season. It’s also the fourth time in 11 races a pair of Hendrick Motorsports teammates have swept the first two spots.
  • Kyle Larson (3rd) earned his best starting spot since Darlington’s Southern 500 last September.
  • Alex Bowman (5th) had his best qualifying run since the season-opening Daytona 500.
  • Aric Almirola (7th) had his car chief Chad Haney ejected after issues with pre-qualifying inspection. He’ll be unable to help the team at the track the rest of the weekend.
  • Jimmie Johnson (12th) has his best starting spot at Dover since 2016. Johnson has won 11 times at this racetrack in Cup, a NASCAR record.
  • Daniel Hemric (23rd) was the highest-qualifying Cup Series rookie. Cody Ware (33rf) has switched his points eligibility to the NASCAR Xfinity Series, cutting this year’s freshman class down to three: Hemric, Ryan Preece (29th) and Matt Tifft (32nd).
  • B.J. McLeod (34th) returns to the Rick Ware Racing team for the first time since Texas Motor Speedway.
  • Quin Houff (35th) is back in the Spire Motorsports No. 77 Chevrolet for his fourth start of the year.
  • Reed Sorenson (37th) remains in his part-time No. 27 ride for Premium Motorsports, the lone unchartered car to attempt this race.

 

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: Gander RV 400

Track: Dover International Speedway

Date: Sunday, May 5

Time: 2 p.m. ET

TV: FOX Sports 1

Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400 laps (400 miles)

Stage 1: 120 Laps

Stage 2: 120 Laps

Final Stage: 160 Laps

 

PRE-RACE ANALYSIS

Corey Lajoie stops by to recap Talladega after a season-high 11th-place finish. Can he replicate that run at the Monster Mile? Hear him talk Dover along with Dustin Albino and Mike Neff on the Frontstretch podcast.

 

Event Date: 
Sunday, May 5, 2019 - 14:00
Include in Acu Data Feed: 
Exclude from Acu-data Feed

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