NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's Food City Presents the Supermarket Heroes 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway

Brad Keselowski earns the pole as NASCAR heads to lightning-quick Thunder Valley

Sunday’s Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway kicks off the short track schedule for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series. This half-mile, lightning-fast oval nicknamed Thunder Valley is home to the shortest lap times on the circuit. You can run four laps here in under a minute, hitting average speeds of over 120 mph while danger lurks around every high-banked turn.

 

The sport also drifts just a bit further away from home for this weekend; the race is between 3-4 hours from most NASCAR race shops in southern North Carolina. It’s a crucial point in the sport’s return from COVID-19 quarantine as this May 31 race will mark 14 days since the sport’s return. If drivers or crew members were exposed to the virus, we’re likely to see the first effects of it by Sunday’s green flag.

 

After one race used qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway, we’re back to a random draw at Bristol. The field was set through a random draw based on 2020 owner points.

 

Positions 1-12 were drawn among teams ranked 1st through 12th in the owner standings.

Positions 13-24 were drawn among teams ranked 13th through 24th in the owner standings.

Positions 25-36 were drawn among charter teams only (guaranteed spots on the grid) ranked 25th through 36th in owner points.

Positions 37-40 were set by owner points among the four “open” teams who must race in on speed every time out.

 

Exactly 40 teams were entered for this event, meaning no one failed to qualify. Coca-Cola 600 winner Brad Keselowski drew the pole position.

 

1. Brad Keselowski

2. Aric Almirola

3. Joey Logano

4. Ryan Blaney

5. Martin Truex Jr.

6. Chase Elliott

7. Kyle Busch

8. Kevin Harvick

9. Matt DiBenedetto

10. Denny Hamlin

11. Alex Bowman

12. Kurt Busch

13. William Byron

14. Matt Kenseth

15. Erik Jones

16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

17. Ryan Newman

18. John Hunter Nemechek (R)

19. Chris Buescher

20. Austin Dillon

21. Tyler Reddick (R)

22. Cole Custer (R)

23. Clint Bowyer

24. Jimmie Johnson

25. Michael McDowell

26. Bayley Currey (i)

27. Joey Gase (i)

28. Quin Houff (R)

29. Ty Dillon

30. Gray Gaulding

31. Garrett Smithley (i)

32. Corey Lajoie

33. Ryan Preece

34. Brennan Poole (R)

35. Christopher Bell (R)

36. Bubba Wallace

37. Daniel Suarez

38. Timmy Hill (i)

39. BJ McLeod (i)

40. JJ Yeley (i)

 

(R) – Rookie

(i) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

 

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Brad Keselowski (1st) won the pole for the second time since NASCAR returned from its COVID-19 quarantine. Both times were through a random draw (which will not count toward 2021 Busch Clash eligibility).
  • Aric Almirola (2nd) has his best starting spot since Kentucky Speedway in July 2019.
  • Joey Logano (3rd) & Ryan Blaney’s (4th) lucky draw mean all three Team Penske cars will start inside the top four.
  • John Hunter Nemechek (18th) drew the best starting spot among rookies.
  • Bayley Currey (26th) will make his 2020 Cup Series debut with Rick Ware Racing, driving their No. 53 Chevrolet. It’s his first Cup start since being forced out of this car last August for failing a drug test.
  • Garrett Smithley (31st) moves to the No. 77 Chevrolet of Spire Motorsports, replacing JJ Yeley.
  • JJ Yeley (40th) moves to the No. 7 of Tommy Baldwin Racing in place of Josh Bilicki.

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500

Track: Bristol Motor Speedway (Bristol, Tenn.)

Date: Sunday, May 31

Time: 3:18 p.m. ET

TV: FOX Sports 1, 3:00 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 500 laps (266.5 miles)

Stage 1: 125 Laps

Stage 2: 125 Laps

Final Stage: 250 Laps

 

PRE-RACE ANALYSIS

Dustin Albino and Mike Neff take a look back at Charlotte’s rain-delayed Thursday sprint race, theorize where winner Chase Elliott goes from here and preview the Bristol high banks in the latest edition of the Frontstretch Podcast.

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