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NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's Ruoff Mortgage 500 at Phoenix Raceway

NASCAR Starting Lineup for Ruoff Mortgage 500 at Phoenix Raceway

Ryan Blaney earns the second Phoenix Raceway pole of his career

NASCAR heads to the one-mile, flat tri-oval of Phoenix Raceway for the fourth race of its 2022 season, the Ruoff Mortgage 500. It’s the first Next Gen race at this track length as drivers run this chassis on the same facility that will decide November's Championship 4 finale.

There’s also a new dimension to the racetrack this weekend: resin. NASCAR added it to the top grooves of each turn, extra grip it hopes will make the racing more competitive. Drivers immediately jumped there during practice to positive reviews: Kurt Busch called it “driving like early 2000s Trucks.

If that’s true, expect another rash of cautions (the Camping World Truck Series had two races with 10-plus in the early 2000s) along with an enhanced ability to pass. It’s a welcome change for a track where aero push on the old car clearly affected the racing, especially during the fall events.

Once again, NASCAR held its two-group, two-round qualifying system and Ryan Blaney emerged to take the pole. It’s the second for Team Penske this season as all three of their drivers (Austin Cindric, Joey Logano) will start inside the top 10.

Only the 36 chartered teams showed up this weekend, leaving the field four short on the 40-car grid. Some of the “open” cars that need to qualify on speed used this west coast swing to build up their inventory as teams continue to suffer through supply chain issues delaying construction of Next Gen cars. For now, though Phoenix has offered a sigh of relief: practice and qualifying were free of any major incidents.

1. Ryan Blaney
2. Denny Hamlin
3. William Byron
4. Christopher Bell
5. Aric Almirola
6. Chase Briscoe
7. Kyle Larson
8. Austin Cindric (R)
9. Alex Bowman
10. Joey Logano
11. Kyle Busch
12. Tyler Reddick
13. Austin Dillon
14. Erik Jones
15. Kurt Busch
16. Kevin Harvick
17. Ross Chastain
18. Brad Keselowski
19. Chase Elliott
20. Martin Truex Jr.
21. Ty Dillon
22. Michael McDowell
23. Daniel Suarez
24. Harrison Burton (R)
25. Cole Custer
26. Chris Buescher
27. Bubba Wallace
28. Justin Haley
29. AJ Allmendinger (i)
30. Corey LaJoie
31. Landon Cassill (i)
32. Cody Ware
33. Todd Gilliland (R)
34. BJ McLeod
35. Garrett Smithley
36. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

(R) – Rookie
(i) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

To the Rear

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Engine change

Failed Pre-Qualifying Inspection

No. 8: Tyler Reddick
No. 15: Garrett Smithley
No. 18: Kyle Busch
No. 20: Christopher Bell
No. 38: Todd Gilliland
No. 41: Cole Custer
No. 42: Ty Dillon
No. 43: Erik Jones
No. 77: Landon Cassill

These nine cars had one crew member ejected from the track and lost the ability to have pit selection for the race on Sunday.

Qualifying Notes

  • Ryan Blaney (pole) is starting first for the second time at Phoenix Raceway (2017). He had yet to win here but placed fourth in November 2021 in between the Championship 4 contenders.
  • Denny Hamlin (second) was the highest-qualifying Toyota. It’s his third top-10 starting spot in four races this season. (However, he’s still without a top-10 finish in any race).
  • William Byron (third) is the highest-qualifying Chevrolet. He also started third at Phoenix last November.
  • Aric Almirola (fifth) is the only driver this season with top-10 finishes in all three races.
  • Chase Briscoe (sixth) has his third top-10 starting spot in four weeks. He started inside the top 10 just once last season.
  • Kyle Larson (seventh) won the last Cup event held here in November.
  • Austin Cindric (eighth) was the highest qualifying rookie. He’s started inside the top 10 in all four races this year.
  • Kevin Harvick (16th) has a track record nine Cup wins at Phoenix.
  • Martin Truex Jr. (20th) is the defending winner of this event.
  • AJ Allmendinger (29th) makes his first Cup start of the season for Kaulig Racing, replacing Daniel Hemric in the No. 16. Like Hemric, Allmendinger is running the NASCAR Xfinity Series full-time for Kaulig.
  • Landon Cassill (31st) replaces Josh Bilicki behind the wheel of the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet. Cassill is running a limited schedule in the car this season, splitting it with Bilicki.

NASCAR Race Breakdown

Race: Ruoff Mortgage 500
Track: Phoenix Raceway (Avon, Ariz.)
Date: Sunday, March 13
|TV: FOX, 3:30 p.m. ET
Distance: 312 laps (500 kilometers)
Stage 1: 75 Laps
Stage 2: 115 Laps
Final Stage: 122 Laps

Pre-Race Preview

Fresh off his victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Alex Bowman stops by the Frontstretch Podcast to give host Davey Segal his honest assessment of the Next Gen car. Then, Davey and Adam Cheek delve into the depths of Phoenix Raceway recent history to figure out which Cup driver has the edge come Sunday afternoon.

Don't forget about Athlon Sports' 2022 Racing magazine. With 144 pages of racing content, it's the most complete preview available today. Click here to get your copy or purchase the digital edition for instant access.