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NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Starting Lineup for NASCAR Cup Series' Ambetter 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Martin Truex, Jr. earns his first pole since 2018 as he seeks his first career New Hampshire victory.

The NASCAR Cup Series winds its way up north to New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend for the running of the 2022 Ambetter 301. The 1.058-mile oval is one of the flattest on tour, armed with variable banking that goes up to only seven degrees in the turns.

Related: Ambetter 301 Preview

That’ll make passing difficult with the sport’s new Next Gen car, a chassis that has struggled a bit on these smaller, heavy braking, lesser-banked tracks (think: Gateway, Martinsville). A shorter race (301 laps) also makes track position crucial and leaves teams searching for any little advantage they can get.

An edge from the driver’s seat may come from shifting, entering the conversation at all types of tracks this year with the way the new car handles and how it can get you an advantage in certain scenarios. Now, how much will they shift? That answer is very much TBD. There’s also concern about extra grip with no resin-like substance added to the track like New Hampshire has used in past years.

“If the tire falls off and we lose grip throughout the run, then shifting may or may not pay off because if you downshift, then you have more acceleration off the corners and it is easier to wheel spin,” Aric Almirola said. “There are factors outside of the resin that play a role.”

All eyes are on Stewart-Haas Racing this weekend, whose four-car team ran well last season and won the race with Almirola’s No. 10. But it’s actually Joe Gibbs Racing who took center stage in qualifying, Martin Truex Jr. earning the pole at a racetrack where he’s yet to win.

Only 36 cars showed up to attempt the Ambetter 301, four less than a full 40-car grid. None of the unchartered teams attempted this race as supply chain issues keep hampering the part-time efforts looking to build a program around the sport’s Next Gen car.

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

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

Qualifying Notes

  • Martin Truex, Jr. (first) earned his first pole position since a Cup race at Kentucky Speedway nearly four years ago. He’s seeking his first ever NHMS win and first victory this season to lock down a postseason spot.
  • Chase Elliott (second) was the highest-qualifying Chevrolet. He’s finished first, second, and first in the last three Cup events.
  • Bubba Wallace (fourth) earned his best starting spot of the 2022 Cup season.
  • Aric Almirola (seventh) was the highest-qualifying Ford driver. He’s also this race’s defending winner.
  • AJ Allmendinger (20th) replaces Noah Gragson behind the wheel of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet this weekend. Allmendinger, Gragson and Daniel Hemric are sharing the ride this season.
  • Todd Gilliland (26th) was the highest-qualifying Cup rookie.
  • JJ Yeley (33rd) replaces Garrett Smithley behind the wheel of the Rick Ware Racing Ford this weekend. Yeley is splitting the ride this season with several drivers.
  • Josh Bilicki (34th) replaces Landon Cassill behind the wheel of the Spire Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend. Bilicki is running a limited schedule with the team.
  • Ty Dillon (35th) has his worst starting position of the season in the same week it was announced he won’t be returning to Petty GMS Motorsports in 2023.

Related: Best New Hampshire Motor Speedway Drivers for DraftKings

NASCAR Race Breakdown

Race: Ambetter 301
Track: New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Loudon, N.H.)
Date: Sunday, July 17
TV: USA Network, 3 p.m. ET
Distance: 301 laps (301 miles)
Stage 1: 70 Laps
Stage 2: 115 Laps
Stage 3: 116 Laps

Pre-Race Preview

The Frontstretch Podcast With Bryan Nolen talks to Ryan Vargas this week about his NASCAR Xfinity Series season and goals as an underfunded driver running for JD Motorsports. Nolen and co-host Adam Cheek then pivot to New Hampshire Motor Speedway and what the keys to victory will be for this weekend’s Cup race in the Granite State.