NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's Daytona 500

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. starts from the pole in the 62nd Great American Race

The 2020 NASCAR season begins this Sunday, Feb. 16, with the 62nd running of the sport's Super Bowl, the Daytona 500. Daytona International Speedway plays host to 40 teams and drivers in the season opener, running 200 laps for a record $23.6 million purse.

 

This year's Duel qualifying races on the 2.5-mile tri-oval proved to be the most competitive in several years as 43 drivers attempted to make the field. There was plenty of side-by-side action and aggression throughout the pack in both races as drivers are finally starting to get a handle on the new tapered spacer package. Manufacturers also got in line, working together in each race to earn Ford a victory in race one (Joey Logano) and Chevrolet in race two (Chase Elliott).

 

Daniel Suarez, Chad Finchum, and JJ Yeley were the three drivers who failed to make the field after the Duels. Suarez, a former Joe Gibbs Racing driver, suffered through the first DNQ of his NASCAR career after getting tangled up in a bizarre wreck during the first Duel. Yeley, also a former JGR full-timer, wrecked out of the second Duel after making contact with Corey Lajoie down the backstretch. Finchum fell short in a one-off effort as part of MBM Motorsports' expanding Cup presence; their full-time car, driven by Timmy Hill was the final one to qualify.

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will start from the pole in the Great American Race, his first since 2017 as he debuts in the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet. Stenhouse is looking to re-establish himself as a superspeedway threat as both his Cup wins have come at the sport’s biggest tracks, Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway.

 

  1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  2. Alex Bowman
  3. Joey Logano
  4. William Byron
  5. Aric Almirola
  6. Jimmie Johnson
  7. Ryan Newman
  8. Kyle Larson
  9. Brad Keselowski
  10. Kevin Harvick
  11. Bubba Wallace
  12. Cole Custer (R)
  13. Austin Dillon
  14. Erik Jones
  15. Martin Truex Jr.
  16. Matt DiBenedetto
  17. Christopher Bell (R)
  18. Kurt Busch
  19. Chris Buescher
  20. Ross Chastain (I)
  21. Denny Hamlin
  22. Tyler Reddick (R)
  23. John Hunter Nemechek (R)
  24. Ty Dillon
  25. Chase Elliott
  26. Michael McDowell
  27. Ryan Blaney
  28. Kyle Busch
  29. Clint Bowyer
  30. David Ragan
  31. Ryan Preece
  32. Timmy Hill (I)
  33. Justin Haley (I)
  34. Brennan Poole (R)
  35. Quin Houff (R)
  36. Corey Lajoie
  37. Joey Gase (I)
  38. BJ McLeod (I)
  39. Brendan Gaughan (I)
  40. Reed Sorenson

(R) – Rookie

(I) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

 

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Stenhouse won his first pole since Talladega Superspeedway in the fall of 2017. Sunday will mark his first Cup race since Charlotte in May 2011 in a car not owned by Roush Fenway Racing.
  • Alex Bowman (2nd) is starting on the front row of the Daytona 500 a third straight year. Stenhouse’s pole, though ended a streak where Hendrick Motorsports had sat on the pole for every Daytona 500 since 2015.
  • Joey Logano (3rd) is the fastest Ford and won his Duel qualifying race Thursday. Since winning the 2015 Daytona 500, he hasn’t finished lower than sixth in the Great American Race.
  • William Byron (4th) won the first points-paying Cup race of his career with Thursday’s Duel qualifying race; it was the first victory for his crew chief, Chad Knaus, since leaving Jimmie Johnson’s team at the end of the 2018 season. The 22-year-old still has yet to win a multi-stage event.
  • Jimmie Johnson (6th) is starting the final Daytona 500 of his career. The seven-time champion has announced the 2020 season will be his last as a full-time NASCAR Cup driver.
  • Cole Custer (12th) is the highest-qualifying rookie. He’s one of six freshmen vying for this year’s award: Christopher Bell (17th), Tyler Reddick (22nd), John Hunter Nemechek (23rd), Brennan Poole (34th) & Quin Houff (35th).
  • Erik Jones (14th) is the highest-placed Toyota in the field. Jones won the season-opening exhibition Busch Clash and has a win already at Daytona in Cup competition (July 2018).
  • Reigning Cup champ Kyle Busch (28th) had his worst qualifying effort since Darlington last September.
  • Timmy Hill (32nd) made his first Daytona 500 after 92 Cup starts since 2012. His MBM Motorsports team is also competing in just their second 500.
  • Justin Haley (33rd) qualified for his first Daytona 500. The July Cup Series winner will run the first-ever Cup race for his full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series employer, Kaulig Racing.
  • Brendan Gaughan (39th) qualified for his final Daytona 500. Gaughan will retire after the season and is scheduled to run just the four superspeedway Cup races with Beard Motorsports (No. 62).
  • Reed Sorenson (40th) qualified for his first Daytona 500 since 2015, running an open car for Premium Motorsports.

 

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: Daytona 500

Track: Daytona International Speedway

Date: Sunday, Feb. 16

Time: 2:30 p.m. ET

TV: FOX, 1 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 500 miles (200 laps)

Stage 1: 65 Laps

Stage 2: 65 Laps

Final Stage: 70 Laps

 

PRE-RACE ANALYSIS

Get revved up for the 2020 NASCAR season with the latest edition of the Frontstretch podcast with Dustin Albino and Mike Neff. They take a look back at the season-opening exhibition Busch Clash last weekend and give their top picks for who’s going to win the 62nd edition of the Great American Race.

Event Date: 
Sunday, February 16, 2020 - 14:30
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