NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway

Get set for 500 miles of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing in the Lone Star State

Sunday's starting lineup for the 2019 O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is set. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is down in the Lone Star State for the seventh race of their season, held at the 1.5-mile tri-oval down in Fort Worth. The new intermediate, low-horsepower handling package took center stage once again along with adjusted qualifying rules.

 

Both of them have already made an impact. The pole speed was down significantly for TMS; 188.890 mph is nearly 12 mph slower than last year’s lightning-fast 200 mph pace. The new rules also caused controversy when Clint Bowyer claimed his qualifying attempt was impeded by Ryan Newman on pit lane. NASCAR refused to budge, leaving Bowyer heated and a distant 25th. Three drivers: Paul Menard, Timmy Hill and Landon Cassill also had their times disallowed through pit road speeding penalties.

 

Staying above the fray was Jimmie Johnson, raising eyebrows by winning his first pole position in almost three years. Johnson’s top speed at TMS marks the first time he earned a spot on the inside of the front row since New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the summer of 2016. It's the second pole of the year for Hendrick Motorsports and a bounce-back effort for Johnson. He was an embarrassing 24th at Martinsville Speedway last weekend, one of his best career tracks.

 

Thirty-nine drivers made a qualifying attempt for 40 possible spots on the grid. That means everyone made the race.

 

1. Jimmie Johnson

2. William Byron

3. Chase Elliott

4. Daniel Suarez

5. Austin Dillon

6. Denny Hamlin

7. Daniel Hemric

8. Joey Logano

9. Ty Dillon

10. Bubba Wallace

11. Erik Jones

12. Brad Keselowski

13. Ryan Blaney

14. Paul Menard

15. Michael McDowell

16. Kyle Busch

17. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

18. Ryan Newman

19. Chris Buescher

20. Martin Truex Jr.

21. Aric Almirola

22. Kyle Larson

23. Kevin Harvick

24. Alex Bowman

25. Clint Bowyer

26. Matt DiBenedetto

27. Ryan Preece

28. David Ragan

29. Matt Tifft

30. Kurt Busch

31. Corey Lajoie

32. Landon Cassill

33. Parker Kligerman (i)

34. BJ McLeod

35. Ross Chastain (i)

36. Bayley Currey (i)

37. Reed Sorenson

38. Garrett Smithley (i)

39. Timmy Hill (i)

 

(i) - Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

 

Note: Hill, Menard and Cassill will start at the rear (pit road speeding)

 

Failed To Qualify

None

 

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Johnson has not won a race from the pole since the 2014 Coca-Cola 600. He also hasn’t won a points-paying NASCAR race since June 2017 at Dover, a streak of 65 races entering TMS. It’s the longest winless drought of his career. But Texas is a great place for Johnson to find some magic; his seven career wins here lead all Cup drivers.
  • Toyota has yet to win a pole in seven 2019 attempts. Denny Hamlin (sixth) was their best effort and only Camry to qualify inside the top 10. Hamlin has started 10th or better in all seven of his 2019 starts.
  • William Byron (2nd) and Chase Elliott (3rd) gave HMS a 1-2-3 sweep.
  • Daniel Suarez (4th) had his best qualifying effort since moving to Stewart-Haas Racing for 2019.
  • Daniel Hemric (7th) was the top qualifying rookie.
  • Kyle Busch (16th) had his worst qualifying effort since the Daytona 500.
  • Parker Kligerman (33rd) is making his fourth 2019 start with Gaunt Brothers Racing as they continue their 12-race limited schedule.
  • Bayley Currey (36th) is back with Rick Ware Racing this week. Rookie Cody Ware is sitting this one out.
  • Garrett Smithley (38th) returns to Spire Motorsports for TMS as the merry-go-round, pay-to-play rotation of drivers continues for that car.
  • Timmy Hill (39th) replaces Joey Gase in the Carl Long Motorsports Toyota for Sunday’s Cup race.

 

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: O’Reilly Auto Parts 500

Track: Texas Motor Speedway (Forth Worth, Texas)

Date: Sunday, March 31

Time: 3 p.m. ET

TV: FOX

Radio: PRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 500 miles (334 laps)

Stage 1: 85 Laps

Stage 2: 85 Laps

Final Stage: 164 Laps

 

PRE-RACE ANALYSIS

Ty Dillon talks the 2020 NASCAR schedule, his strong start to 2019 and more with Dustin Albino, Mike Neff and the Frontstretch podcast.

Event Date: 
Sunday, March 24, 2019 - 13:30
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