NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway

Austin Dillon to lead the field as Talladega gets ready for first race without restrictor plates in more than three decades

Talladega Superspeedway is ready to rumble for a stock car milestone we haven’t seen in over 30 years: a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race without restrictor plates. The 2019 GEICO 500 will mark the 10th race on the schedule and the first since 1987 at the track without those four-hole plates designed to reduce horsepower inside the engine.

 

Instead, NASCAR has chosen a new package that includes a 0.922-inch tapered spacer, a higher rear spoiler (9 inches) and and a one-inch, bolt-on track bar mount whose design raises the car off the ground to create more drag.

 

But the sport has already made tweaks to this package, installing a one-inch wicker to the spoiler amidst fear speeds are too high inside the draft. Those fears were put to rest, somewhat once Austin Dillon won the pole with an average speed of 192.544 mph. It’s three mph slower than Kurt Busch's pole run last fall and far below the 200 mph "danger zone" NASCAR appears to set as an unsafe boundary for these cars.

 

However, additional throttle response inside the draft means we could see speeds rise dramatically with a full 40-car field out there. They'll be led by Dillon, capturing his second pole of the year and first of his career at this 2.66-mile tri-oval.

 

Forty cars attempted to qualify for 40 spots on the grid, meaning all drivers made the race. It's the first time NASCAR has a full field since February’s Daytona 500.

 

1. Austin Dillon

2. Aric Almirola

3. Clint Bowyer

4. Brad Keselowski

5. Daniel Hemric

6. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

7. Ryan Blaney

8. Joey Logano

9. Alex Bowman

10. Kyle Larson

11. Chase Elliott

12. Michael McDowell

13. Ty Dillon

14. Kurt Busch

15. David Ragan

16. Daniel Suarez

17. Paul Menard

18. Matt Tifft

19. Kevin Harvick

20. Martin Truex Jr.

21. Jimmie Johnson

22. Kyle Busch

23. Denny Hamlin

24. Ryan Newman

25. William Byron

26. Matt DiBenedetto

27. Erik Jones

28. Bubba Wallace

29. Brendan Gaughan (i) (Tyler Reddick qualified the car)

30. Ryan Preece

31. Chris Buescher

32. Landon Cassill (i)

33. Jeffrey Earnhardt (i)

34. Ross Chastain (i)

35. Parker Kligerman (i)

36. Corey Lajoie

37. Reed Sorenson

38. Justin Haley (i)

39. Stanton Barrett

40. Cody Ware (i)

 

(i) - Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

 

Failed To Qualify

None

 

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Dillon won the fifth pole of his NASCAR career and second this season, tying his career high. He has just one career top-5 finish at Talladega in 11 starts, a third in the spring of 2016. The pole run comes after the team’s rear deck lid was confiscated in Friday practice amid concerns it was out of compliance with the NASCAR Rule Book. Penalties for that potential infraction will not be announced until after the race itself.
  • Almirola (2nd) is the highest-qualifying Ford and most recent winner at Talladega. He won the fall 2018 Cup Series event to advance in the NASCAR playoffs.
  • Daniel Hemric (5th) was the highest-qualifying rookie and tied the best starting spot of his NASCAR Cup career (Las Vegas).
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (6th) earned his best starting position since Atlanta Motor Speedway back in February.
  • Kurt Busch (14th) had car chief Ryan Bergenty ejected after failing pre-race inspection twice. The team will also be penalized 15 minutes in practice time next weekend at Dover International Speedway.
  • Matt Tifft (18th) had the best qualifying effort of his NASCAR Cup career.
  • Martin Truex Jr. (20th) was the fastest Toyota in the field. It’s the worst effort by far for the manufacturer in any Cup race this season.
  • Denny Hamlin (23rd) has back-to-back qualifying efforts outside the top 20 after starting the first eight races of the year inside the top 10.
  • Brendan Gaughan (29th) had Tyler Reddick qualify his car in order to attend a family function. He’ll drive the Beard Oil car on Sunday.
  • Landon Cassill (32nd) has chosen to start receiving Xfinity Series points beginning with this weekend’s race. The full-time driver, well out of contention to make the Cup Series playoffs for Starcom Racing is officially ineligible to do so.
  • Jeffrey Earnhardt (33rd) is running the first Cup race for a new team, XCI Racing, that is competing in a handful of Xfinity and Cup events this year. The No. 81 Toyota is sponsored by Xtreme Concepts.
  • Parker Kligerman (35th) has returned to the track with Gaunt Brothers Racing, a part-time Toyota team running a limited schedule this year.
  • Justin Haley (38th) is making his Cup Series debut with the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet.
  • Stanton Barrett (39th) returns to Rick Ware Racing this week with support from HUSKI Chocolate. He’s using that sponsorship money to run a handful of races for the team later this season. The 45-year-old stuntman has 23 career Cup starts.
  • Rookie Cody Ware (40th) returns to drive for his family-owned RWR team for the first time since Martinsville.

 

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: GEICO 500

Track: Talladega Superspeedway

Date: Sunday, April 28

Time: 2 p.m. ET

TV: FOX

Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 188 laps (500 miles)

Stage 1: 55 Laps

Stage 2: 55 Laps

Final Stage: 78 Laps

 

PRE-RACE ANALYSIS

Dustin Albino and Mike Neff review the first quarter of the 2019 season while looking ahead to the racing at Talladega Superspeedway in the Frontstretch podcast.

 

Event Date: 
Sunday, April 28, 2019 - 14:00
Include in Acu Data Feed: 
Exclude from Acu-data Feed

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