NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway

William Byron starts on the pole for the 70th annual event

The Track Too Tough To Tame hosts its 70th annual 500-mile race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday, Sept. 1. The Southern 500 is one of the sport's crown jewel events, a throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway filled with classic paint schemes and nostalgia. The sport's oldest asphalt track over one mile in length (1.366 miles, in fact) plays host to a grueling test under the heat of Labor Day Weekend.

 

This egg-shaped oval often caters to the most experienced drivers in the field. But in a mild surprise, it's a sophomore, William Byron, sitting on the pole at just 21 years of age. He'll attempt to be just the second driver this century (Kevin Harvick) to follow that up with a race win here.

 

Toyotas have won four of the past six races at Darlington but they struggled in qualifying; only one of their drivers, Denny Hamlin, was able to sneak inside the top 10. The pole speed decreased slightly, to 172.487 miles an hour under the 2019 handling package as drivers also deal with varying levels of grip.

 

Only 39 cars and three unchartered teams showed up to qualify this weekend. That left all drivers guaranteed to make the race and one open spot left on the 40-car grid.

 

1. William Byron

2. Brad Keselowski

3. Kyle Larson

4. Kurt Busch

5. Daniel Suarez

6. Jimmie Johnson

7. Joey Logano

8. Chase Elliott

9. Denny Hamlin

10. Ryan Blaney

11. Kevin Harvick

12. Chris Buescher

13. Clint Bowyer

14. Austin Dillon

15. Erik Jones

16. Alex Bowman

17. Paul Menard

18. Daniel Hemric

19. Matt DiBenedetto

20. Ryan Preece

21. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

22. Martin Truex Jr.

23. Michael McDowell

24. Ryan Newman

25. Landon Cassill (i)

26. David Ragan

27. Corey Lajoie

28. Bubba Wallace

29. Ty Dillon

30. Aric Almirola

31. Ross Chastain (i)

32. Matt Tifft

33. Kyle Busch

34. Reed Sorenson

35. JJ Yeley (i)

36. BJ McLeod (i)

37. Joe Nemechek (i)

38. Garrett Smithley (i)

39. Joey Gase (i)

 

(i) - Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

 

Failed To Qualify

None

 

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Byron's fourth pole of the season is tied for the Cup Series lead with Kevin Harvick. He'll attempt to become the first driver to earn his first career Cup win at Darlington since Regan Smith back in 2011.
  • Brad Keselowski (2nd) was the highest-qualifying Ford. The defending Southern 500 champion started a three-race Cup Series win streak at this event last year.
  • Kyle Larson (3rd) was the fastest Chevrolet. Larson has yet to win the Southern 500 despite 408 laps led during the last two races alone.
  • Kurt Busch (4th) has top-10 qualifying efforts in eight of the last nine Cup races.
  • Jimmie Johnson (6th) has his best starting spot since Chicagoland Speedway at the end of June.
  • Denny Hamlin (9th) was the fastest Toyota. His 6.2 average finish at Darlington leads all drivers.
  • Daniel Hemric (18th) was the fastest rookie in the field.
  • Kyle Busch (33rd) will move to the rear of the field after an engine change. His motor started to go sour in the middle of his qualifying lap.
  • JJ Yeley (35th) moves to Rick Ware Racing's No. 52 Chevrolet this week after running the No. 54 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
  • Joe Nemechek (37th) will run a second car for Premium Motorsports, making his first Cup Series start since March 2015 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The former Cup Series regular has four career wins in 667 total starts.
  • Garrett Smithley (38th) moves to Rick Ware Racing for his sixth Cup start of 2019. He'll drive a No. 54 Chevrolet, the team's new car that debuted at Bristol two weeks ago.
  • Joey Gase (39th) is running his first Cup race for MBM Motorsports since the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Memorial Day Weekend.

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: Bojangles' Southern 500

Track: Darlington Raceway (Darlington, S.C.)

Date: Sunday, Sept. 1

Time: 6:15 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN

Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 367 laps (500 miles)

Stage 1: 100 Laps

Stage 2: 100 Laps

Final Stage: 167 Laps

 

PRE-DARLINGTON NEWS

Erik Jones opens up about his roller-coaster 2019 season with Joe Gibbs Racing before Dustin Albino and Mike Neff preview this year's Southern 500 in the latest edition of the Frontstretch podcast.

Event Date: 
Saturday, August 17, 2019 - 19:30
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