NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Aric Almirola sits on the pole as NASCAR's Cup Series returns from a 10-day layoff

After a 10-day layoff, the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series returns to racing this weekend for the Foxwoods Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The 1.058-mile, flat-shaped oval also welcome fans back to the track; they’ll allow up to 12,000 to attend the event on Sunday as stock car racing resumes its late summer sprint to its 10-race playoff.

 

The break was the longest one for race teams since the sport's return from COVID-19 suspension in mid-May. It's also a third straight trip of over 750 miles from their North Carolina home base. The sport has run consecutive races in Kansas, Texas, and now an hour north of Boston as they slowly stretch the limits of how far they're able to travel with this virus.

 

However, a shortened COVID-19 routine in order to reduce track time during this pandemic remains unchanged. New Hampshire will have no practice or qualifying; haulers won't even enter the speedway until 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night.

 

That means the lineup was again picked through NASCAR's qualifying draw system, outlined below. These rules are expected to remain in place through the end of the regular season.

 

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 37-38 were set by owner points among the four “open” teams who must race in on speed every time out.

 

Stewart-Haas Racing's Aric Almirola will start this race from the pole position. It's the third time his team drew lucky number one in his last seven Cup starts. By comparison, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, canceling qualifying, Almirola had just two poles total in a Cup career that’s spanned over a decade.

 

Only 38 teams were entered for 40 spots on the grid, meaning everyone who entered made the race. Two "open" teams, the No. 78 of BJ McLeod Motorsports and the No. 7 of Tommy Baldwin Racing, chose to skip the New Hampshire event.

 

1. Aric Almirola

2. Denny Hamlin

3. Chase Elliott

4. Brad Keselowski

5. Kyle Busch

6. Clint Bowyer

7. Kevin Harvick

8. Alex Bowman

9. Joey Logano

10. Kurt Busch

11. Martin Truex Jr.

12. Ryan Blaney

13. Tyler Reddick (R)

14. Cole Custer (R)

15. Bubba Wallace

16. William Byron

17. Erik Jones

18. Michael McDowell

19. Matt DiBenedetto

20. Jimmie Johnson

21. Matt Kenseth

22. Ryan Newman

23. Austin Dillon

24. Chris Buescher

25. Ty Dillon

26. James Davison

27. Garrett Smithley (i)

28. Joey Gase (i)

29. JJ Yeley

30. Ryan Preece

31. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

32. Quin Houff (R)

33. Corey Lajoie

34. Brennan Poole (R)

35. Christopher Bell (R)

36. John Hunter Nemechek (R)

37. Daniel Suarez

38. Timmy Hill (i)

 

(R) – Rookie

(i) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

 

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Aric Almirola (pole) has started inside the top 5 in five straight races. He’s seeking his ninth consecutive top-10 finish this season along with his first win since Talladega Superspeedway in October 2018.
  • Denny Hamlin (2nd) has his eighth top-5 start in the last 11 Cup races held at New Hampshire.
  • Chase Elliott (3rd) has his best start since drawing the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway the first week of June.
  • Clint Bowyer (6th) drew his highest starting position since Martinsville Speedway on June 10.
  • Kevin Harvick (7th) is the defending race winner.
  • Tyler Reddick (13th) drew the best starting spot among rookies.
  • James Davison (26th) moves to the No. 53 of Rick Ware Racing for just his third career Cup start. It’s his first with RWR after running 34th and 30th for Spire Motorsports at Pocono Raceway at the end of June.

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: Foxwoods Casino 301

Track: New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Loudon, N.H.)

Date: Sunday, Aug. 2

Time: 3:08 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 301 laps (318 miles)

Stage 1: 75 Laps

Stage 2: 110 Laps

Final Stage: 116 Laps

 

PRE-RACE PREVIEW

Matt Crafton stops by to talk about breaking his NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series victory drought at Kansas Speedway on the Frontstretch podcast with Mike Neff and Dustin Albino. The boys then turn their focus toward a preview of the Cup racing we’ll see this weekend in New Hampshire.

Event Date: 
Sunday, August 2, 2020 - 15:00
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