NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway

Kyle Busch starts from the pole. Can he finally win a Cup race in 2020?

The NASCAR Cup Series moves to Kentucky Speedway this week for the 2020 Quaker State 400. The 1.5-mile oval is just 130 miles southeast of Indianapolis as the sport continues its trek around the Ohio Valley.

 

It’s just the 10th Cup race at a track that was added to the schedule in 2011. At first, drivers loved the aging asphalt that created multiple grooves and wore tires to shreds. But a recent repaving, in 2016, has upped speeds while making passing more difficult under the current handling package.

 

NASCAR's COVID-19 restrictions remain in place for this upcoming weekend. That means no fans along with no on-track practice or qualifying before the race. The starting lineup for Sunday was selected under the same rules the sport has been using for most races since returning in mid-May.

 

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.

 

Last year's runner-up finisher, Kyle Busch, starts from the pole position. It's the first time he's earned the top spot since the sport returned from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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 Kentucky event.

 

1. Kyle Busch

2. Joey Logano

3. Kevin Harvick

4. Aric Almirola

5. Alex Bowman

6. Brad Keselowski

7. Kurt Busch

8. Chase Elliott

9. Martin Truex Jr.

10. Matt DiBenedetto

11. Ryan Blaney

12. Denny Hamlin

13. Chris Buescher

14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

15. Clint Bowyer

16. Erik Jones

17. Matt Kenseth

18. Bubba Wallace

19. Austin Dillon

20. Jimmie Johnson

21. William Byron

22. John Hunter Nemechek (R)

23. Ryan Newman

24. Tyler Reddick (R)

25. Garrett Smithley (i)

26. Josh Bilicki (i)

27. Corey Lajoie

28. Quin Houff (R)

29. Cole Custer (R)

30. Michael McDowell

31. Brennan Poole (R)

32. Ryan Preece

33. Ty Dillon

34. Christopher Bell (R)

35. Joey Gase (i)

36. JJ Yeley (i)

37. Daniel Suarez

38. Timmy Hill (i)

 

(R) – Rookie

(i) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

 

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Kyle Busch (pole) has now started 10th or better in nine of his ten Kentucky starts.
  • Joey Logano (2nd) has his second straight front row start.
  • Aric Almirola (4th) is seeking his career-best sixth straight top-5 finish. It’s his second straight top-5 start at Kentucky.
  • Kurt Busch (7th) is the defending race winner.
  • Jimmie Johnson (20th) returns to the No. 48 after being cleared of COVID-19. Johnson tested negative on two straight tests within 24 hours, putting him back in his ride in place of Justin Allgaier.
  • John Hunter Nemechek (22nd) drew the best starting spot among rookies.
  • Josh Bilicki (26th) moves to the No. 77 of Spire Motorsports for the first time this season, replacing Ross Chastain. Sponsorship will come from the Austin Hatcher Foundation.

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: Quaker State 400

Track: Kentucky Speedway

Date: Sunday, July 12

Time: 2:44 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 2:30 p.m. ET

Radio: IMS, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 267 laps (400 miles)

Stage 1: 80 Laps

Stage 2: 80 Laps

Final Stage: 107 Laps

 

PRE-RACE PREVIEW

Chase Briscoe stops by the Frontstretch podcast to talk about his hot start to 2020 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and that thrilling Indianapolis win. Then, hosts Dustin Albino and Mike Neff turn their attention toward the Cup Series action in Kentucky.

Event Date: 
Sunday, July 12, 2020 - 14:30
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