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NASCAR Starting Lineup for Sunday's YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway

Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin on pole for final pack race of year

NASCAR's largest racetrack will also serve as its most unpredictable with the running of the 2020 YellaWood 500. This pack racing facility has a history of big wrecks that eliminate top contenders, Cinderella upsets and more surprises in a single race than NASCAR typically has in a month. June's race here had 57 lead changes, by far the most on the circuit this year.

 

The COVID-19 protocols add an extra layer of intrigue as there will be no practice or qualifying. Per usual, the starting lineup is set according to the metrics outlined below.

 

25% of the metric will be the driver’s finishing position from the previous race.

25% of the metric will be the owner’s finishing position from the previous race.

35% of the metric will be the owner’s current position in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings.

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

 

Perhaps the most important metric is all 12 championship-eligible drivers automatically starting inside the top 12. It means Matt DiBenedetto, despite a second-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, could qualify no better than 13th.

 

Thirty-nine drivers are entered for 40 spots on the grid this week, meaning all drivers will make the race. Three "open" teams are in that group this week: MBM Motorsports' No. 66 (Timmy Hill), Gaunt Brothers Racing's No. 96 (Daniel Suarez), and Beard Motorsports' No. 62 (Brendan Gaughan).

 

1. Denny Hamlin (P)

2. Kurt Busch (P)

3. Martin Truex Jr. (P)

4. Alex Bowman (P)

5. Kevin Harvick (P)

6. Kyle Busch (P)

7. Brad Keselowski (P)

8. Joey Logano (P)

9. Clint Bowyer (P)

10. Chase Elliott (P)

11. Aric Almirola (P)

12. Austin Dillon (P)

13. Matt DiBenedetto

14. Ryan Blaney

15. Chris Buescher

16. Erik Jones

17. Jimmie Johnson

18. Cole Custer (R)

19. Ryan Newman

20. Matt Kenseth

21. William Byron

22. Christopher Bell (R)

23. John Hunter Nemechek (R)

24. Michael McDowell

25. Ryan Preece

26. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

27. Bubba Wallace

28. Ty Dillon

29. Corey Lajoie

30. Tyler Reddick (R)

31. Daniel Suarez

32. Brennan Poole (R)

33. Quin Houff (R)

34. JJ Yeley (i)

35. Justin Haley (i)

36. Joey Gase (i)

37. Timmy Hill (i)

38. James Davison (i)

39. Brendan Gaughan

 

(P) – Playoff Driver

(R) – Rookie

(i) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

 

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Denny Hamlin (1st) will start up front for the first time since Homestead-Miami Speedway in June.
  • Kurt Busch (2nd) has his best starting spot since Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July. He’s also the only driver out of the 12 who has clinched a spot to advance.
  • Ryan Blaney (14th) is the defending race winner.
  • Cole Custer (18th) was the highest-qualifying rookie.
  • Justin Haley (35th) makes just his second Cup start of the season and first driving Spire Motorsports’ No. 77. Haley won the Daytona International Speedway Cup race in July 2019.
  • James Davison (38th) returns to the RWR lineup for the first time since Bristol Motor Speedway in September.
  • Brendan Gaughan (39th) will make his fifth start of the season with the No. 62 Beard Motorsports Chevrolet. Gaughan will retire from NASCAR following the event.

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: YellaWood 500

Track: Talladega Superspeedway (Lincoln, Ala.)

Date: Sunday, Oct. 4

TV: NBC, 2:00 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 188 laps (500 miles)

Stage 1: 60 Laps

Stage 2: 60 Laps

Final Stage: 68 Laps

 

PRE-RACE PREVIEW

Ross Chastain stops by the Frontstretch podcast to chat with hosts Dustin Albino and Mike Neff about his move to Chip Ganassi Racing for 2021. The boys then turn their attention to a wild weekend ahead at Talladega Superspeedway.

Event Date: 
Sunday, October 4, 2020 - 14:30
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