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

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

Christopher Bell took the pole as Joe Gibbs Racing swept the front row starting spots for Talladega

The GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway is the first time NASCAR's Next Gen chassis will race on the sport’s largest track. Expectations are high after the season-opening Daytona 500 produced one of the most competitive pack races in recent history, rookie Austin Cindric edging Bubba Wallace to the line by .036 seconds to take the victory.

Wallace is the most recent winner at this exciting pack race littered with a history of upsets. Bobby Hillin Jr., Phil Parsons, Brian Vickers, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are just some of the surprises who earned their first (and in some cases, only) career Cup trophy at this 2.66-mile facility. Wallace was the latest breakthrough, just the second African-American driver to win in the sport’s premier series and the first since 1963.

For this race, NASCAR chose not to hold practice at a tri-oval where the draft often keeps all drivers in the race stuck together like superglue. However, they did hold their typical two rounds of qualifying, where Christopher Bell emerged to take the pole. It was just Toyota’s second pole of the season as Bell and Martin Truex Jr. combined for a front-row sweep by Joe Gibbs Racing.

Thirty-nine teams chose to attempt the Talladega race, leaving the field one short of a 40-car grid. The 36 guaranteed spots were spoken for along with three part-time, unchartered entries: NY Racing’s No. 44 (Greg Biffle), MBM Motorsports’ No. 55 (JJ Yeley), and Beard Motorsports’ No. 62 (Noah Gragson).

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

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

Qualifying Notes

  • Christopher Bell (pole) earned his second pole position of the year. He’s on the front row in back-to-back races (second at Bristol Dirt) for the first time in his Cup career.
  • Daniel Hemric (third) was the highest-qualifying Chevrolet. It’s his second top-5 starting position in four starts with Kaulig Racing as he replaces Noah Gragson in the seat for this weekend.
  • Bubba Wallace (ninth) was the winner at this track last fall.
  • Joey Logano (13th) was the highest-qualifying Ford.
  • Brad Keselowski (15th) has six career wins at Talladega to lead all active drivers.
  • Austin Cindric (18th) was the highest-qualifying rookie and won the season-opening Daytona 500 at Talladega’s sister track.
  • Ryan Blaney (22nd) is the defending winner of the Talladega spring race.
  • Noah Gragson (31st) returns to the Beard Motorsports No. 62 Chevrolet which is attempting its first race since the season-opening Daytona 500. It also has a new sponsor on board: Wendy’s.
  • Greg Biffle (35th) returns with the No. 44 NY Racing Chevrolet. Both team and driver are making their first start since Richmond Raceway with sponsorship from Morehouse College.
  • David Ragan (36th) replaces JJ Yeley for this race behind the wheel of the Rick Ware Racing Ford. Ragan is a former Talladega winner (2013).
  • BJ McLeod (37th) slides back behind the wheel of his own No. 78 Live Fast Motorsports Ford, replacing Josh Williams.
  • JJ Yeley (38th) returns to the MBM Motorsports No. 55, where he’s running a limited schedule this season. The team is making its first start of the year with this car number after failing to qualify for Daytona.
  • Landon Cassill (39th) returns to the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet, replacing Justin Allgaier. Cassill is running a limited schedule for the team this season.

Related: Best Talladega Superspeedway Drivers for DraftKings

NASCAR Race Breakdown

Race: GEICO 500
Track: Talladega Superspeedway (Lincoln, Ala.)
Date: Sunday, April 24
TV: FOX, 3 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 188 laps (500 miles)
Stage 1: 60 Laps
Stage 2: 60 Laps
Final Stage: 68 Laps

Pre-Race Preview

How did Tyler Reddick feel after his Bristol dirt race heartbreak? He stopped by The Frontstretch Podcast to check in after a shot at a first Cup victory went sour once Chase Briscoe slid into him in the final turn of that event. Host Davey Segal then turns the attention toward Talladega Superspeedway and what fireworks we might see from the GEICO 500 this weekend.

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.