NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway

Virginia native Denny Hamlin wins the pole. Can he win a spot in the Championship 4?

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series begins its Round of 8 with the last short track of the 10-race playoff. Martinsville Speedway's half-mile paperclip is the place where the unexpected can and often does happen.

 

Last season, Joey Logano used a bump-and-run on the final lap to blow by Martin Truex Jr. and earn himself a spot in the Championship 4. Without the victory, Logano would never have qualified for the final round and earned himself the 2018 Cup title.

 

He'll try and get lightning to strike twice in a row on a track where beating and banging is the norm, not the exception. Martinsville’s heavy braking and tight turns make it difficult for side-by-side action; using your bumper can often be one of the few surefire ways to blow past your competition.

 

A familiar face will lead the field to green this weekend as Virginia native Denny Hamlin earned the pole for Sunday's race. Hamlin, last week's winner at Kansas Speedway and a championship contender, has five career victories here, tying a career-high for him at any Cup facility (Pocono Raceway).

 

Thirty-eight (38) cars showed up to compete for 40 spots on the grid. That meant no one failed to qualify for Sunday's race.

 

1. Denny Hamlin (P)

2. Chase Elliott (P)

3. Martin Truex Jr. (P)

4. Aric Almirola

5. Michael McDowell

6. Ryan Blaney (P)

7. Clint Bowyer

8. Erik Jones

9. Daniel Suarez

10. Joey Logano (P)

11. William Byron

12. Matt DiBenedetto

13. Kyle Busch (P)

14. Kyle Larson (P)

15. Brad Keselowski

16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

17. David Ragan

18. Daniel Hemric

19. Alex Bowman

20. Chris Buescher

21. Ryan Preece

22. Kevin Harvick (P)

23. Austin Dillon

24. Jimmie Johnson

25. Kurt Busch

26. Bubba Wallace

27. Ryan Newman

28. Corey Lajoie

29. Ty Dillon

30. Paul Menard

31. Matt Crafton (i)

32. Landon Cassill (i)

33. BJ McLeod (i)

34. Reed Sorenson

35. JJ Yeley (i)

36. Ross Chastain (i)

37. Timmy Hill (i)

38. Garrett Smithley (i)

 

(i) - Ineligible to collect Cup Series points
(P) - Playoff Driver
Failed To Qualify - None

 

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Denny Hamlin earned the third Cup pole of his 2019 season and 33rd of his career. He’ll be seeking his second career Martinsville victory from the inside of the front row (2010).
  • Chase Elliott (2nd) was the fastest qualifying Chevrolet. It’s his fourth top-5 qualifying effort in seven playoff races.
  • Aric Almirola (4th) was the fastest Ford.
  • Michael McDowell (5th) had the best qualifying effort of his Cup career (317 starts). He’s now started sixth or better in back-to-back races.
  • Daniel Hemric (18th) was the highest-qualifying rookie.
  • Kevin Harvick (22nd) qualified the worst of all the playoff drivers.
  • Matt Crafton (31st) qualified for Matt Tifft after the Front Row Motorsports rookie was admitted to the hospital on Saturday. Tifft underwent tests for an unknown medical condition and was sent home; Crafton will now drive the car.
  • BJ McLeod (33rd), JJ Yeley (35th) and Garrett Smithley (38th) make up Rick Ware Racing’s driver merry-go-round this week. Each one has started several races this season for the team.

 

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: First Data 500

Track: Martinsville Speedway (Martinsville, Va.)

Date: Sunday, Oct.27

Time: 3 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN

Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 500 laps (263 miles)

Stage 1: 130 Laps

Stage 2: 130 Laps

Final Stage: 240 Laps

 

PRE-MARTINSVILLE NEWS

Tyler Reddick reflects on the upcoming NASCAR Xfinity Series Champions Day at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida while looking back on his 2019 season. Plus, Dustin Albino and Mike Neff look ahead to this weekend’s playoff Cup Series showdown in the latest edition of the Frontstretch podcast.

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