NASCAR Starting Lineup for Saturday's FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway

Defending race winner Joey Logano starts up front a second straight year

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to the Irish Hills of Michigan International Speedway this weekend for a stock car doubleheader. A total of 624 miles will be run over two days, starting with the Firekeepers Casino 400 on Saturday, Aug. 8. It's the first time in MIS history they'll run two Cup races in a single weekend.

 

This two-mile oval, near the epicenter of American auto manufacturing, is known for high speeds and multiple grooves. Jeff Gordon's pole run of 206.558 miles an hour, back in 2014, remains the fastest at any track for a stock car this century.

 

However, aerodynamics hampered the racing here in recent years, making passing difficult and handing the leader a dominant advantage. The sport hopes their lower-horsepower intermediate package sparks a competitive comeback as it returns to the track for a second season.

 

NASCAR chose this week to change its qualifying procedure beginning with next weekend's race at the Daytona road course. That means Saturday's event at Michigan is the last one with the qualifying draw system below they've used in almost all events since mid-May. On-track qualifying remains suspended, as it has been for all but one race since the sport's two-month COVID-19 quarantine.

 

Positions 1-12 were drawn among teams ranked 1st through 12th in the owner standings.

Positions 13-24 were drawn among teams ranked 13th through 24th in the owner standings.

Positions 25-36 were drawn among charter teams only (guaranteed spots on the grid) ranked 25th through 36th in owner points.

Positions 37-39 were set by owner points among the four "open" teams who must race in on speed every time out.

 

Last year's June Michigan winner, Joey Logano, starts from the pole position. He'll look to continue a four-race winning streak for Ford at the closest racetrack to their Dearborn, Michigan, corporate offices.

 

Only 39 teams were entered for 40 spots on the grid, meaning everyone who entered made the race. An "open" team that's run a majority of summertime events, the No. 78 of BJ McLeod Motorsports, has chosen to skip the Michigan weekend and focus on the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Road America.

 

1. Joey Logano

2. Denny Hamlin

3. Kevin Harvick

4. Aric Almirola

5. Brad Keselowski

6. Alex Bowman

7. Kyle Busch

8. Chase Elliott

9. Clint Bowyer

10. Kurt Busch

11. Ryan Blaney

12. Martin Truex Jr.

13. Ryan Newman

14. Tyler Reddick (R)

15. Matt DiBenedetto

16. Cole Custer (R)

17. Jimmie Johnson

18. Austin Dillon

19. William Byron

20. Matt Kenseth

21. Michael McDowell

22. Chris Buescher

23. Erik Jones

24. Bubba Wallace

25. Quin Houff (R)

26. JJ Yeley (i)

27. Brennan Poole (R)

28. James Davison

29. Christopher Bell (R)

30. Reed Sorenson

31. John Hunter Nemechek (R)

32. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

33. Garrett Smithley (i)

34. Ty Dillon

35. Ryan Preece

36. Corey Lajoie

37. Daniel Suarez

38. Timmy Hill (i)

39. Joey Gase (i)

 

(R) – Rookie

(i) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

 

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Joey Logano (pole) starts up front for the fifth time in 23 career Michigan starts. Last year, he won from the pole to earn his third career victory at MIS.
  • Denny Hamlin (2nd) has his second straight front row start.
  • Ryan Newman (13th) has his best starting spot since a sixth at Pocono Raceway at the end of June.
  • Tyler Reddick (14th) drew the best starting spot among rookies.
  • Quin Houff (25th) ties his career-best qualifying position (37 career Cup starts).
  • James Davison (28th) moves to the No. 51 Rick Ware Racing Ford this weekend after running the No. 53 at New Hampshire. Davison also announced this week he'll run the Indianapolis 500 in a partnership with RWR.
  • Reed Sorenson (30th) will drive a newly renumbered No. 74 for Spire Motorsports. Sponsorship comes from Fake Steak in a one-race deal.
  • Garrett Smithley (33rd) moves into RWR’s No. 53 for Michigan after running for Spire Motorsports at New Hampshire.
  • Joey Gase (39th) moves into the part-time No. 7 Tommy Baldwin Racing ride for the first time this season. He’s only driven for RWR up to this point in 2020.

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: Firekeepers Casino 400

Track: Michigan International Speedway (Brooklyn, Mich.)

Date: Saturday, August 8

Time: 4:17 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 4 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 156 laps (312 miles)

Stage 1: 40 Laps

Stage 2: 45 Laps

Final Stage: 71 Laps

 

PRE-RACE PREVIEW

Cole Custer looks back at his Kentucky Speedway upset with Mike Neff and Dustin Albino of the Frontstretch NASCAR podcast. Then, the boys turn their attention to a weekend of racing at Michigan.

Event Date: 
Sunday, August 2, 2020 - 15:00
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