NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's GoBowling 235 at Daytona International Speedway Road Course

Points leader Kevin Harvick on the pole for the first NASCAR Cup Series race on the Daytona road course

It's a weekend of firsts for NASCAR as the sport holds its first Cup Series event on Daytona International Speedway's 14-turn, 3.61-mile road course. It's the first time stock car's top level will run a road race at Daytona since the old beach events in the sport's infancy from 1949-1958.

 

You would think with a new racetrack NASCAR might allow some cracks in its no practice, no qualifying rules during COVID-19. To their credit, the sport is holding steadfast to that policy in the interest of both driver and crew safety. It'll make for an interesting Sunday afternoon (Aug. 16) as the field dives full speed into the first turn without having turned a lap on the racetrack.

 

This weekend is also a first for the sport's new qualifying procedure. Instead of a weekly draw, used for most events from mid-May through the beginning of August, the sport is using a new weighted system to calculate weekly starting spots.

 

Each week, NASCAR will compare each driver entered for the race and calculate a metric for them based on the percentages listed below.

 

50 percent of the metric will be their finishing position from the previous race.

35 percent of the metric will be their current position in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings.

15 percent of the metric will be their fastest lap during the previous race.

 

Officials will then set the lineup based on those totals (the lower the number, the better the starting spot for each driver). It's a complicated formula to figure out although you didn't need the calculator this week. Kevin Harvick's weekend sweep at Michigan International Speedway as the point leader made him a shoo-in to earn the pole at Daytona.

 

Only 39 teams are entered for 40 spots on the grid this week, meaning everyone who entered made the race. Two "open" teams that have been running part-time schedules, the No. 78 of BJ McLeod Motorsports and the No. 7 of Tommy Baldwin Racing, chose to skip this one. Meanwhile, the No. 62 of Beard Motorsports, who has entered just a handful of races this season, jumped in to bump the total to 39.

 

1. Kevin Harvick

2. Denny Hamlin

3. Martin Truex Jr.

4. Kyle Busch

5. Joey Logano

6. Aric Almirola

7. Chase Elliott

8. Kurt Busch

9. Matt DiBenedetto

10. Austin Dillon

11. Jimmie Johnson

12. Clint Bowyer

13. William Byron

14. Ryan Newman

15. Christopher Bell (R)

16. Matt Kenseth

17. Brad Keselowski

18. Tyler Reddick (R)

19. Bubba Wallace

20. Erik Jones

21. Chris Buescher

22. Ryan Preece

23. Ty Dillon

24. Ryan Blaney

25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

26. Cole Custer (R)

27. Alex Bowman

28. John Hunter Nemechek (R)

29. Corey Lajoie

30. Michael McDowell

31. Daniel Suarez

32. JJ Yeley (i)

33. Brennan Poole (R)

34. Stanton Barrett

35. Quin Houff (R)

36. Garrett Smithley (i)

37. Timmy Hill (i)

38. James Davison

39. Brendan Gaughan

 

(R) – Rookie

(i) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

 

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Kevin Harvick (pole) starts up front for the second time in the last five races.
  • Denny Hamlin (2nd) has his third front row start in the last four races.
  • Chase Elliott (7th) is the top-qualifying Chevrolet. Fords and Toyotas split the top six spots.
  • Christopher Bell (15th) was the highest-qualifying rookie. It's just the second time in his Cup career he’s started inside the top 15 in consecutive races.
  • Stanton Barrett (34th) is running his first Cup race of the season, driving the No. 77 for Spire Motorsports. The former part-time Cup driver will be making his 25th career start in the series.
  • Brendan Gaughan (39th) is back with his part-time schedule paired with the No. 62 Beard Motorsports Chevrolet. He plans to run the superspeedway events at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway this season along with Sunday's road course race.

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: Daytona 235

Track: Daytona International Speedway Road Course (Daytona Beach, Fla.)

Date: Sunday, August 16

TV: NBC, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 65 laps (235 miles)

Stage 1: 15 Laps

Stage 2: 15 Laps

Final Stage: 35 Laps

 

PRE-RACE PREVIEW

NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Austin Cindric talks about his recent hot streak and what it might mean for his 2021 plan. Then, hosts Dustin Albino and Mike Neff tackle the unpredictability of Daytona’s right-turn debut in the latest Frontstretch podcast.

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