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NASCAR Starting Lineup for Wednesday's Toyota 500 at Darlington Raceway

NASCAR Starting Lineup for Wednesday's Toyota 500 at Darlington Raceway

NASCAR Starting Lineup for Wednesday's Toyota 500 at Darlington Raceway

It's twice the fun this week for the NASCAR Cup Series at the Track Too Tough To Tame. Darlington Raceway, three days removed from ending the NASCAR COVID-19 quarantine, is set to host a second race on its 1.366-mile oval on Wednesday night (6 p.m. ET start).

The Toyota 500 is just 228 laps, a sprint race by Darlington standards. More importantly, it'll be held under strict health and safety protocols once again as NASCAR adjusts to a "new normal" under this national pandemic. Personnel will continue to be limited to 16 crew members per team; social distancing, from team spotters to the TV broadcast, will be monitored by NASCAR officials.

Those protocols also mean a one-day show at Darlington with no practice or qualifying. Instead, the starting lineup was determined by the finishing order of Sunday's race. Positions 1-20 were inverted, meaning a late-race pass by Ryan Preece over Bubba Wallace for 20th earned him the pole position. Ty Dillon jumps from 19th to second on the grid, the first front row starting spot of his Cup career.

It was a double whammy for Wallace, who finished a disappointing 21st in Sunday's race. The new qualifying rules mean he'll stay 21st in Wednesday's lineup, with 22nd through 39th position also locked in place. That means Jimmie Johnson, one of the fastest cars on Sunday before a wreck with Chris Buescher in stage one, will have to fight back to the front from 37th. It also means Ricky Stenhouse Jr., after failing to complete a lap before wrecking Sunday, adds insult to injury by starting Wednesday's race dead last.

The full starting lineup is below. Keep in mind the field is reduced to 39 cars after Tommy Baldwin Racing and driver Josh Bilicki chose not to enter this midweek event.

1. Ryan Preece

2. Ty Dillon

3. Joey Logano

4. Clint Bowyer

5. Ryan Blaney

6. Ryan Newman

7. Matt DiBenedetto

8. Brad Keselowski

9. Aric Almirola

10. Austin Dillon

11. Matt Kenseth

12. John Hunter Nemechek (R)

13. Erik Jones

14. Tyler Reddick (R)

15. Martin Truex Jr.

16. Denny Hamlin

17. Chase Elliott

18. Kurt Busch

19. Alex Bowman

20. Kevin Harvick

21. Bubba Wallace

22. Cole Custer (R)

23. Michael McDowell

24. Christopher Bell (R)

25. Daniel Suarez

26. Kyle Busch

27. Brennan Poole (R)

28. Gray Gaulding

29. Ross Chastain (i)

30. Joey Gase (i)

31. Corey Lajoie

32. Chris Buescher

33. Timmy Hill (i)

34. William Byron

35. Quin Houff (R)

36. Garrett Smithley (R)

37. Jimmie Johnson

38. BJ McLeod (i)

39. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

(R) – Rookie

(i) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points


  • Ryan Preece’s pole won’t count toward the 2021 Busch Clash due to the unique circumstances. It’s the first top10 start of his Cup Series career (46 starts). In fact, Preece hadn’t qualified better than 15th on an oval before this race (Martinsville last March).
  • Ty Dillon (2nd) has the first top5 start of his Cup Series career (131 starts). His previous best was 9th at Texas in the spring of 2019.
  • Team Penske (3rd, 5th, 8th) has three top10 Darlington qualifying efforts after Brad Keselowski was the pole-sitter for Sunday’s race.
  • Matt DiBenedetto (7th) has three straight top10 starts in his first six races for the Wood Brothers.
  • John Hunter Nemechek (12th) is the highest qualifying rookie. It’s also the first top20 start of his Cup Series career (eight starts).
  • Kevin Harvick (20th) moves to midpack after earning his 50th career Cup win in Sunday’s race. The Stewart-Haas Racing veteran hasn’t finished outside the top 10 all year.
  • Gray Gaulding (28th) makes his first start with Rick Ware Racing’s No. 27, replacing JJ Yeley. Sponsorship is coming from Panini America in a two-race deal.
  • Ross Chastain (29th) is back with Spire Motorsports’ No. 77 after spending a few races subbing for Ryan Newman at Roush Fenway Racing.


Race: Toyota 500

Track: Darlington Raceway (Darlington, S.C.)

Date: Wednesday, May 20

Time: 6:16 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 6 p.m. ET


Distance: 500 kilometers (228 laps)

Stage 1: 60 Laps

Stage 2: 65 Laps

Final Stage: 103 Laps


Stock Car Scoop with Bryan Nolen catches you up on Sunday’s Darlington results while taking a closer look at how this week’s NASCAR Xfinity Series return could shake out.