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NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway

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NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway

NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway

The NASCAR Cup Series hits the one-quarter pole of its season this weekend at Richmond Raceway. The 0.75-mile oval moves to Sunday for its spring 2021 race that was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Richmond also finishes up a short track swing that included events at Bristol Motor Speedway (dirt) and Martinsville Speedway. It's the first time Cup has run three straight races at ovals less than one mile since 1996, the last year North Wilkesboro Speedway was on the schedule.

Once again, the series has chosen to go with no on-track practice or qualifying due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the starting lineup was set for each team via the sport's qualifying metric established last season, defined below.

50% of the metric is their finishing position from the previous race (split between driver and owner).

35% of the metric is the team's current position in the NASCAR Cup Series owner point standings.

15% of the metric is their fastest lap during the previous race.

The team with the lowest total starts on the pole, then the next lowest, etc. until all available spots are filled. It's the best compromise NASCAR could make while attempting to limit each team's at-track time during the pandemic.

Only 38 cars entered the Richmond race, leaving two empty spots on this 40-car grid. The 36 teams who have guaranteed spots are entered along with two "open" cars: the No. 37 of JTG Daugherty Racing (Ryan Preece) and the No. 33 of Team Penske (Austin Cindric).

1. Martin Truex Jr.

2. Denny Hamlin

3. Chase Elliott

4. William Byron

5. Joey Logano

6. Kyle Larson

7. Ryan Blaney

8. Christopher Bell

9. Kevin Harvick

10. Kyle Busch

11. Austin Dillon

12. Chris Buescher

13. Tyler Reddick

14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

15. Bubba Wallace

16. Matt DiBenedetto

17. Kurt Busch

18. Ross Chastain

19. Ryan Newman

20. Brad Keselowski

21. Cole Custer

22. Aric Almirola

23. Michael McDowell

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24. Alex Bowman

25. Ryan Preece

26. Chase Briscoe (R)

27. Daniel Suarez

28. James Davison

29. Anthony Alfredo (R)

30. Erik Jones

31. Josh Bilicki

32. Quin Houff

33. Cody Ware (i)

34. Justin Haley (i)

35. BJ McLeod (i)

36. Corey LaJoie

37. Garrett Smithley (i)

38. Austin Cindric (i)

(R) – Rookie

(i) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Martin Truex Jr. (pole) starts up front for the first time since Talladega in June 2020. He's seeking his sixth win in his last 12 short track starts.
  • Denny Hamlin (2nd) is the current Cup Series point leader (+76 over Truex). Hamlin's lead is so big, he could sit out the Richmond race and still remain atop the standings.
  • Chase Elliott (3rd) is the best-starting Chevrolet.
  • Joey Logano (5th) is the highest-qualifying Ford.
  • Brad Keselowski (20th) won at this track last September. (There was no spring Richmond race last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
  • Chase Briscoe (26th) is the highest-qualifying rookie.
  • Garrett Smithley (37th) returns to the No. 53 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet, replacing JJ Yeley.
  • Austin Cindric (38th) makes another start in the No. 33 Team Penske Ford with sponsorship provided by Verizon 5G. The reigning NASCAR Xfinity Series champion is running a limited schedule this season in preparation for a full-season run in 2022.

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: Toyota Owners 400

Track: Richmond Raceway (Richmond, Va.)

Date: Sunday, April 18

TV: FOX, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400 laps (300 miles)

Stage 1: 80 Laps

Stage 2: 155 Laps

Final Stage: 165 Laps

PRE-RACE PREVIEW

Austin Hill stops by the Frontstretch Podcast to talk about his 2021 Camping World Truck Series season to date before host Davey Segal and company turn their attention to Sunday's race at Richmond.

Don't forget about Athlon Sports' 2021 Racing magazine. With 144 pages of racing content, it's the most complete preview available today. Click here to get your copy.