NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Sunday's field set by 2019 owner points after qualifying rained out

Two 2020 NASCAR Cup Series races, two times where rain has interfered with the competition. Less than a week after the sport's Daytona 500 was rain-delayed until Monday, a persistent drizzle wiped out Saturday afternoon qualifying for Sunday's (Feb. 22) Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 

As a result, the field will line up based on 2019 owner points according to the NASCAR rule book. That could have handed a huge advantage to a trio of Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas who made last year's Championship 4: Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and Denny Hamlin.

 

But only one of them (Truex) will maintain his starting spot after pre-race inspection discovered problems with Busch, Hamlin, and another Toyota team (Christopher Bell). All three cars failed due to improper nose modifications, resulting in the loss of their starting spot and 10 driver and owner points before they ever turn a green-flag lap on the racetrack.

 

Their issues move Kevin Harvick, last year's lone Ford driver to make the Championship 4, into the provisional pole position. Truex will start alongside while 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion (and last year's Pennzoil 400 winner) Joey Logano jumps to the inside of row two.

 

After 43 cars entered to qualify for this year’s Daytona 500, just 38 showed up at Las Vegas. That means all drivers qualified while two spots on the 40-car grid remain empty heading into Sunday's race.

 

Note that Ryan Newman, despite being released from the hospital days after his violent Daytona last-lap wreck, won't be competing in the No. 6 Ford this weekend. Full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ross Chastain has been picked as a sub until Newman is ready to race again.

 

  1. Kyle Busch **
  2. Martin Truex Jr.
  3. Kevin Harvick
  4. Denny Hamlin **
  5. Joey Logano
  6. Kyle Larson
  7. Ryan Blaney
  8. Brad Keselowski
  9. Clint Bowyer
  10. Chase Elliott
  11. William Byron
  12. Alex Bowman
  13. Kurt Busch
  14. Aric Almirola
  15. Ross Chastain (I)
  16. Erik Jones
  17. Cole Custer (R)
  18. Jimmie Johnson
  19. Matt DiBenedetto
  20. Ryan Preece
  21. Austin Dillon
  22. Christopher Bell (R) **
  23. Chris Buescher
  24. Ty Dillon
  25. Tyler Reddick (R)
  26. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  27. Bubba Wallace
  28. Michael McDowell
  29. John Hunter Nemechek (R)
  30. Corey Lajoie
  31. Joey Gase (I)
  32. Quin Houff (R)
  33. Brennan Poole (R)
  34. Garrett Smithley **
  35. Daniel Suarez
  36. Reed Sorenson
  37. JJ Yeley (I)
  38. Timmy Hill (I)

 

** - Car will move to the rear of the field after failing pre-race inspection

(R) – Rookie

(I) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

 

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Kyle Busch’s pole doesn’t count toward the 2021 Busch Clash as he would have started up front due to a rainout. But Busch will be pushed back to the rear anyway based on pre-race inspection issues.
  • Martin Truex Jr. (2nd) won the last Las Vegas Cup race held here last fall.
  • Joey Logano (5th) is the race’s defending winner. Team Penske has won two of the last three Cup races held at Las Vegas (Brad Keselowski – Fall 2018).
  • Kyle Larson (6th) is the highest-starting Chevrolet driver, worst of the three manufact. But Chevrolets have 16 cars in this field, one more than any other manufacturer (Ford has 15 and Toyota 7).
  • Ross Chastain (15th) starts in place of Ryan Newman in the No. 6 Ford. No timetable has been set for Newman’s return after a scary crash in the last lap of this year’s Daytona 500 left him hospitalized for half the week.
  • Cole Custer (17th) has the best starting position of six rookie drivers in the field.
  • Joey Gase (31st) moves to the No. 53 Ford for Rick Ware Racing this weekend. That car was run by David Ragan at Daytona en route to a fourth-place finish, a career best for RWR at the Cup level.
  • Garrett Smithley (34th) moves to the No. 51 Chevrolet for Rick Ware Racing while making his 2020 Cup debut for the team. He’ll also move to the rear of the field, along with the three Toyotas listed above after failing pre-race inspection three times.
  • Daniel Suarez (35th) will make his 2020 debut for Gaunt Brothers Racing after failing to qualify for last week’s Daytona 500. It was the first DNQ of Suarez’s career.
  • Reed Sorenson (36th) replaces Ross Chastain at the No. 77 of Spire Motorsports this weekend while Chastain moves to the No. 6.
  • JJ Yeley (37th) makes his 2020 Cup debut in the No. 52 Rick Ware Racing Ford after failing to qualify at Daytona in their No. 54 car.

 

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: Pennzoil 400

Track: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Date: Sunday, Feb. 23

Time: 3:46 p.m. ET

TV: FOX, 3:30 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400 miles (267 laps)

Stage 1: 80 Laps

Stage 2: 80 Laps

Final Stage: 107 Laps

 

PRE-RACE ANALYSIS

Brendan Gaughan and his family’s South Point Casino properties make him the perfect guest for this week’s Frontstretch podcast with Mike Neff and Dustin Albino before Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The former NASCAR Xfinity Series regular and current Cup Series part-timer reflects on his career in the sport as he plans to retire following the 2020 season.

Event Date: 
Sunday, February 23, 2020 - 15:45
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