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NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway

NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway

NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway

Talladega Superspeedway has a history of being NASCAR's most unpredictable track. Literally any one of the 40 drivers in the field can push to the front at any moment, regardless of equipment, experience or circumstances. So it's only fitting that setting the starting lineup for this race would be a random draw.

Instead of resorting to on-track qualifying on the first weekend fans are allowed at the track, NASCAR chose to keep the draw system in place. It's a decision meant to limit on-track time for the teams as they try and mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 inside the garage area. On Friday, it was announced two employees from Stewart-Haas Racing had tested positive for the virus in their Kannapolis, North Carolina, race shop, reinforcing the need for such a policy.

Under this system, all drivers are split up according to their team's position in owner points. These smaller groups then have their starting spot randomly selected for Sunday's race.

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.

Only 40 teams were entered for 40 spots on the grid, leaving no one who failed to qualify. Martin Truex Jr. took the pole as part of a 1-2-3 lucky draw for Joe Gibbs Racing.

1. Martin Truex Jr.

2. Denny Hamlin

3. Kyle Busch

4. Jimmie Johnson

5. Kevin Harvick

6. Brad Keselowski

7. Kurt Busch

8. Alex Bowman

9. Joey Logano

10. Clint Bowyer

11. Chase Elliott

12. Ryan Blaney

13. Matt Kenseth

14. Ryan Newman

15. Aric Almirola

16. Tyler Reddick (R)

17. Austin Dillon

18. Erik Jones

19. William Byron

20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

21. Chris Buescher

22. John Hunter Nemechek (R)

23. Matt DiBenedetto

24. Bubba Wallace

25. Corey Lajoie

26. Michael McDowell

27. Brennan Poole (R)

28. Cole Custer (R)

29. Gray Gaulding (i)

30. BJ McLeod

31. Ryan Preece

32. Quin Houff (R)

33. Ty Dillon

34. JJ Yeley (i)

35. Christopher Bell (R)

36. Joey Gase (i)

37. Daniel Suarez

38. Timmy Hill (i)

39. Brendan Gaughan

40. Garrett Smithley (i)

(R) – Rookie

(i) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points


  • Joe Gibbs Racing has their first 1-2-3 qualifying effort of the 2020 season. Martin Truex Jr., starting first, earned his first pole since moving to JGR in 2019. Denny Hamlin (2nd) has his second straight front row starting spot while reigning series champion Kyle Busch is third.
  • Jimmie Johnson (4th) has his best starting spot since May’s Coca-Cola 600.
  • Tyler Reddick (16th) drew the highest qualifying spot of any rookie in the field.
  • Gray Gaulding (29th) jumps back in the No. 27 for Rick Ware Racing, replacing JJ Yeley. He last ran the car at Bristol three weeks ago.
  • BJ McLeod (30th) was named the driver of the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet midweek. Australian and Indy 500 veteran James Davison was set to make his oval-track debut in the series. However, NASCAR chose not to approve him for Talladega with no practice or qualifying before the event.
  • JJ Yeley (34th) moves into the No. 53 car for Rick Ware Racing this weekend. Most of the time, that car is driven by Garrett Smithley but he moves to BJ McLeod’s self-owned team, the No. 78, instead and will start 40th.
  • Brendan Gaughan (39th) will make his second start of the season. Gaughan is running just the superspeedway races with Beard Motorsports and their No. 62 this season.


Race: GEICO 500

Track: Talladega Superspeedway (Lincoln, Ala.)

Date: Sunday, June 21

Time: 3:25 p.m. ET

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


Distance: 188 laps (500 miles)

Stage 1: 60 Laps

Stage 2: 60 Laps

Final Stage: 68 Laps


Christopher Bell stops by the Frontstretch Podcast to discuss his rookie transition into the Cup Series before hosts Dustin Albino and Mike Neff turn their attention to this weekend’s race at Talladega.