Itâs NASCAR race day at Martinsville Speedway, and weâve got some essential information you need to get ready for Sunday’s First Data 500, the first race in the Round of 8 ofÂ the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs:
START TIME:Â First Data Chairman and CEO Frank BisignanoÂ will instruct drivers to start their engines at 2:30Â p.m. ET, followed by theÂ green flag at 2:38Â p.m. ET.
RACE DISTANCE:Â The First Data 500 is 500 laps around the 0.526-mile Martinsville Speedway for a total of 263 miles.
RACE STAGES:Â After a successful run last season, NASCARÂ will once again beÂ dividing races into stagesÂ and handing out points. Here are the segmentsÂ for tonight’s Cup race:Â Stage 1: 130Â laps, Stage 2: 130Â laps, Stage 3: 240Â laps.
PLAYOFFS:Â Today’s race is the seventh of 10 playoff races and the first of the three-race thirdÂ round, which concludes two weekends from now at ISM Raceway in Phoenix. Eight drivers advanced from the second round and remain in contention for the championship.
NATIONAL ANTHEM:Â The 380th Army Band, based in Richmond, Va., will perform the national anthem at 2:25Â p.m. ET, followed by a flyover by The Bandit Flight Team, based in Raleigh, N.C.
TV RADIO SCHEDULE:Â The race will be broadcast on NBCSN starting at 2:30 p.m. ET,Â with a pre-show beginning at 2 p.m. ET. Radio calls can be found on the Motor Racing Network andÂ Sirius/XM NASCAR Radio.
LIVE STREAMING:Â NBCSports.comÂ will live-stream the race for those who sign in with their cable/satellite provider’s credentials.
STEWART-HAAS RACING: Juggernaut takes on field in Round of 8
WEATHER: The Weather Channel is calling for sunny skies with temperatures in the low 60s when the green flag drops. There is very minimal chance of precipiation.
LAST TIME: Clint Bowyer snapped 190-race winless streak in dominating fashion, leading a race-high 215 laps and holding off Kyle Busch in March. And one year ago in the playoff race, Busch led a race-high 184 laps to book his ticket to the final four.
LINEUP:Â Busch qualified first Saturday to take his second career pole at Martinsville and his fourth overall this season. Bowyer will line up alongside Busch on the front row after qualifying second.
Seven drivers failed pre-race inspection, including Round of 8 playoff driver Martin Truex Jr. and nine-time Martinsville winner Jimmie Johnson. Those seven along with Paul Menard, who changed an engine, will start from the rear of the field. In addition, Brad Keselowski and Landon Cassill will start from the back after making unapproved adjustments following inspection.
Here’s the starting lineup for today’s First Data 500 (car number in parentheses; x-moving to the rear):
1. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota
2. (14) Clint Bowyer, Ford
3. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota
4. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford
5. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford
6. (41) Kurt Busch, Ford
x-7. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford
8. (19) Daniel Suarez, Toyota
9. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet
10. (22) Joey Logano, Ford
11. (24) William Byron, Chevrolet
12. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford
13. (37) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet
14. (88) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet
15. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet
16. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet
17. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet
18. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford
19. (9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet
20. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford
21. (20) Erik Jones, Toyota
22. (15) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet
23. (13) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet
24. (6) Matt Kenseth, Ford
25. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet
26. (32) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford
27. (95) Regan Smith, Chevrolet
28. (72) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet
29. (96) DJ Kennington, Toyota
30. (00) Joey Gase, Chevrolet
31. (7) Hermie Sadler III, Chevrolet
x-32. (99) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet
33. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota
34. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
35. (21) Paul Menard, Ford
36. (38) David Ragan, Ford
37. (43) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet
38. (23) JJ Yeley, Toyota
39. (51) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet
40. (66) Timmy Hill, Toyota
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