NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway

Clint Bowyer starts on the pole at Fontana followed by Jimmie Johnson in final race on hometown track

Three races into the NASCAR season and the sport is hoping it will finally get a break in the weather department. And of all the stops on the Cup series schedule, you would think that Fontana, California, would offer respite from the elements. However, that may not be the case with rain in the forecast for Sunday's Auto Club 400 from Auto Club Speedway.

 

At least rain didn't interfere with qualifying like it did last week in Las Vegas. And Clint Bowyer took full advantage of the opportunity, earning just his fourth career pole with a 179.614 mph lap, narrowly edging Jimmie Johnson, who will make his final start at his home track, by a mere 0.009 seconds. Alex Bowman will start third, followed by Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick who round out the top five.

 

Aric Almirola will start sixth, followed by Las Vegas winner Joey Logano. Michael McDowell starts eighth, ahead of Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 

Martin Truex Jr. wasn't allowed to run a lap in qualifying after his car failed inspection three times. Just a week after his three Joe Gibbs Racing teammates were forced to start in the rear for illegal nose modifications, Truex will start 38th for unrelated violations. His car chief was ejected from the track and he will face a 30-minute practice hold next week at Phoenix Raceway. Ryan Preece, who qualified 20th, will also start at the rear of the field following an engine change prior to qualifying.

 

For the second week in the row, the field will be short with just 38 cars entered.

 

Meanwhile, Ross Chastain remains behind the wheel of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford in Ryan Newman's place as he continues to recover from a head injury suffered in the last lap crash at Daytona International Speedway.

 

1. Clint Bowyer

2. Jimmie Johnson

3. Alex Bowman

4. Kurt Busch

5. Kevin Harvick

6. Aric Almirola

7. Joey Logano

8. Michael McDowell

9. Kyle Larson

10. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

11. Chris Buescher

12. Matt DiBenedetto

13. Chase Elliott

14. Bubba Wallace

15. Brad Keselowski

16. Ryan Blaney

17. Kyle Busch

18. Cole Custer (R)

19. Tyler Reddick (R)

20. Ryan Preece

21. William Byron

22. Christopher Bell (R)

23. John Hunter Nemechek (R)

24. Ty Dillon

25. Austin Dillon

26. Corey Lajoie

27. Ross Chastain (I)

28. Denny Hamlin

29. Erik Jones

30. JJ Yeley (I)

31. Daniel Suarez

32. Brennan Poole (R)

33. Reed Sorenson

34. Joey Gase (I)

35. Quin Houff (R)

36. Garrett Smithley

37. Timmy Hill (I)

38. Martin Truex Jr.

 

(R) – Rookie

(I) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

 

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Kyle Busch (17th) is the race's defending winner. It was his fourth win at the two-mile oval in 21 starts.
  • After three of its cars were penalized for illegal nose modifications at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last weekend, Toyota was locked out of the top 15. The manufacturer's highest qualifying driver is Kyle Busch.
  • For the second week in a row, Ross Chastain (27th) pilots the No. 6 in place of Ryan Newman. No timetable has been set for Newman's return following a vicious Daytona wreck.
  • Cole Custer (18th) is the highest qualifying rookie for the third time in as many races.

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: Auto Club 400

Track: Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, Calif.)

Date: Sunday, March 1

Time: 3:46 p.m. ET

TV: FOX, 3:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400 miles (200 laps)

Stage 1: 60 Laps

Stage 2: 60 Laps

Final Stage: 80 Laps

 

Event Date: 
Sunday, February 23, 2020 - 15:45
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