NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway

Aric Almirola on the pole for Sunday's race in the Lone Star State

The NASCAR Cup Series jumps to the Lone Star State this weekend for the running of the 2020 O'Reilly Auto Parts 500. Texas Motor Speedway will host the event, originally postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with fans in the stands.

 

The 1.5-mile oval was recently repaved, making fresh asphalt easier on tires. Drivers loved this facility for its multiple grooves but until the pavement wears, passing will be more difficult. The track has used various strategies to increase grip level but the best thing going for it this weekend will be heat; the high temperature on Sunday could approach 100 degrees. A hot, slick surface will send drivers scrambling and make handling a major factor over the long green-flag runs that are common here.

 

As usual, the COVID-19 pandemic has scrapped practice and qualifying for this race. Instead, the starting lineup was set using the qualifying draw system below.

 

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.

 

Aric Almirola got lucky this week and starts from the pole position for the second time in five races. Can he capitalize on track position? Last time out at Kentucky Speedway, he led 128 laps and threatened for the win before winding up in eighth place.

 

This week, 40 teams were entered for 40 spots on the grid, meaning everyone who entered made the race. A new No. 90 entry, owned by entrepreneur Vic Keller, withdrew when the team realized it would not make the field for this event.

 

1. Aric Almirola

2. Ryan Blaney

3. Kurt Busch

4. Kyle Busch

5. Kevin Harvick

6. Brad Keselowski

7. Denny Hamlin

8. Chase Elliott

9. Joey Logano

10. Martin Truex Jr.

11. Matt DiBenedetto

12. Alex Bowman

13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

14. Bubba Wallace

15. Ryan Newman

16. Chris Buescher

17. Clint Bowyer

18. William Byron

19. Cole Custer (R)

20. Jimmie Johnson

21. Austin Dillon

22. Matt Kenseth

23. Erik Jones

24. Tyler Reddick (R)

25. Ryan Preece

26. Quin Houff (R)

27. Garrett Smithley (i)

28. John Hunter Nemechek (R)

29. Gray Gaulding (i)

30. Ty Dillon

31. JJ Yeley (i)

32. Brennan Poole (R)

33. Christopher Bell (R)

34. Michael McDowell

35. Joey Gase (i)

36. Corey Lajoie

37. Daniel Suarez

38. Timmy Hill (i)

39. BJ McLeod (i)

40. Reed Sorenson

 

(R) – Rookie

(i) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

 

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Aric Almirola (pole) is seeking his seventh straight top-10 finish in the NASCAR Cup Series. The recent hot streak has seen him jump from 14th to 8th in the standings.
  • Ryan Blaney (2nd) has his best start since the first race of the Pocono doubleheader last month.
  • Denny Hamlin (7th) is the defending race winner.
  • Bubba Wallace (14th) has his best starting spot since the season-opening Daytona 500.
  • Cole Custer (19th), last week's race winner at Kentucky, drew the best starting position among rookies.
  • Gray Gaulding (29th) moves into the No. 27 Rick Ware Racing Ford with sponsorship from Panini America. It's his first race for the team since Talladega Superspeedway in mid-June.
  • JJ Yeley (31st) jumps into the No. 51 of Rick Ware Racing for the first time in 2020. That car had been driven by Joey Gase exclusively since NASCAR's return from its two-month COVID-19 quarantine.
  • Joey Gase (35th) rotates into the No. 77 of Spire Motorsports for the first time this season, replacing Justin Haley who ran the All-Star Race. Sponsorship will be provided by Formula One Imports.
  • BJ McLeod (39th) brings back his self-owned No. 78 team for the first time since Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this month.
  • Reed Sorenson (40th) makes his first start since Martinsville Speedway June 10. He'll round out the field in the part-time No. 7 fielded by Tommy Baldwin Racing.

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: O’Reilly Auto Parts 500

Track: Texas Motor Speedway (Fort Worth, Texas)

Date: Sunday, July 19

Time: 3:17 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 334 laps (400 miles)

Stage 1: 85 Laps

Stage 2: 85 Laps

Final Stage: 164 Laps

 

PRE-RACE PREVIEW

Michael McDowell stops by to chat about his career year running the NASCAR Cup Series for Front Row Motorsports before Frontstretch podcast hosts Mike Neff and Dustin Albino turn their attention to the racing at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.

Event Date: 
Sunday, July 19, 2020 - 15:00
Include in Acu Data Feed: 
Exclude from Acu-data Feed

More Stories: