Skip to main content

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

Christopher Bell earned his season-high fourth pole of the season as the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs Round of 12 rolls on at 'Dega.
YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway

The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs roll on this weekend to Talladega Superspeedway for the YellaWood 500. At 2.66 miles in length, the largest oval track on the schedule will host the sixth and final pack race this year in the midst of growing safety concerns.

Two full-time drivers, Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman, will be sitting this race out due to concussion-like symptoms. A third entrant, Cody Ware, will race despite suffering an impaction fracture to his right ankle. Despite recent issues, no safety updates are expected in time for Sunday’s event, making how this race will play out a major unknown.

The current rules package keeps these cars superglued together at Talladega, largely unable to break apart from a 40-car draft and creating the potential for serious wrecks. So, will the field respond to these injuries by being less aggressive? Or will the thirst for a win, which for playoff drivers comes with an automatic bid into the Round of 8, be too much for them to dial it back?

Qualifying at these pack events is also different, consisting of two-lap, single-car runs with the top 10 advancing to the final round. Christopher Bell’s Toyota emerged from that group to win the pole, a first step toward working back inside the top 8 in points after a 34th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway. Five Chevrolets, three Toyotas, and two Fords wound up inside the top 10, manufacturer parity at a racetrack known for evening out the playing field.

Thirty-seven cars showed up for the YellaWood 500. The 36 franchise cars with a guaranteed spot on the grid made the trip along with the No. 62 of Beard Motorsports with driver Justin Allgaier.

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

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

Qualifying Notes

  • Christopher Bell (first) earned his season-high fourth pole of the season at Talladega. Bell will be seeking his first ever pack race win in any of NASCAR’s top three series.
  • Kyle Larson (second) has the best starting position among Chevrolet drivers. He’s also seeking his first Cup win at a pack race after running a career-best fourth at Talladega earlier this year.
  • Aric Almirola (fourth) has the best starting position among Ford drivers after earning the pole at Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend.
  • Noah Gragson (seventh) replaces Alex Bowman behind the wheel of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Bowman is out for at least this week after suffering concussion-like symptoms following Sunday’s hard crash at Texas. Bowman will still be championship eligible should he return at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s ROVAL next weekend while the No. 48 car remains in contention for the owner’s championship.
  • William Byron (ninth) lost his pit stall selection along with car chief Tyler Jones after failing pre-race inspection twice.
  • Ty Gibbs (10th) remains as the sub for Kurt Busch in the No. 23 23XI Racing Toyota. Busch has been out with concussion-like symptoms since Pocono Raceway back in July.
  • Daniel Hemric (13th) replaces AJ Allmendinger behind the wheel of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet. Hemric, Allmendinger and Noah Gragson are splitting the ride in that car.
  • Harrison Burton (15th) has the best starting position among Cup rookies.
  • Brad Keselowski (18th) has six career Cup victories at Talladega to lead active drivers.
  • Bubba Wallace (27th) is the race’s defending winner.
  • Justin Allgaier (31st) from the NASCAR Xfinity Series replaces Noah Gragson behind the wheel of the No. 62 Beard Motorsports Chevrolet. This team, which runs a limited schedule, has used Gragson but he was tapped to drive the No. 48 in place of Bowman.
  • JJ Yeley (36th) replaces Garrett Smithley behind the wheel of the No. 15 Rick Ware Racing Ford. Yeley is running the majority of races for the team this year.

Related: Best Talladega Superspeedway Drivers for DraftKings

NASCAR Race Breakdown

Race: YellaWood 500
Track: Talladega Superspeedway (Lincoln, Ala.)
Date: Sunday, Oct. 2
TV: NBC, 2 p.m. ET
Distance: 188 laps (500 miles)
Stage 1: 60 Laps
Stage 2: 60 Laps
Stage 3: 68 Laps

Pre-Race Preview

This week’s Frontstretch Podcast with Bryan Nolen welcomes driver Austin Hill from Richard Childress Racing. Hill talks about welcoming Kyle Busch to the organization next season and what he’ll mean to the future of both the NASCAR Xfinity and Cup Series program before dishing on his own plans for 2023. Nolen and co-host Jack Swansey then discuss the upcoming weekend at Talladega Superspeedway and who could emerge as a favorite in what’s often the most unpredictable race of the year.