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NASCAR Starting Lineup for Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway – Athlon Sports

NASCAR Starting Lineup for Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway – Athlon Sports
30 Jul
6:43

NASCAR kicks off the second half of its 2019 season this weekend with the Quaker State 400 out in Sparta, Kentucky. The 1.5-mile oval, added to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule in 2011, is only a once-a-year summer stop. There’s hope the new handling package will spice up an unmemorable racetrack, one whose recent repave has limited passing and helped contribute to aerodynamic dominance up front.

It’s also one of just eight opportunities left for drivers to secure themselves a playoff spot. Only seven eligible drivers (Justin Haley excluded) have won in the season’s first 18 races; that total means we’ll end up with less than 16 regular-season winners. So any driver currently inside the top 30 in the standings, no matter their point total still has hope of reaching the postseason. All they need to do is find themselves a Cinderella slipper, like Haley last weekend at Daytona, and sneak their way to victory lane.

Daniel Suarez sure hopes last week’s Upset Special continues with him. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver, on the outside looking in on the postseason, earned just the second pole of his NASCAR career Friday night at Kentucky. The last time Suarez started up front, at Pocono in the summer of 2018, he wound up with his best career finish (second). Can he better that performance by one spot Saturday night? The Mexican driver’s long-term future with SHR (and perhaps his Cup career) may depend on victory lane and securing a postseason bid.

One week after a full field at Daytona, just 36 cars showed up at Kentucky, tied for the smallest field this season. No one failed to qualify as NASCAR continues its struggle to find new owners, manufacturers and teams for its 40-car grid.

1. Daniel Suarez

2. Aric Almirola

3. Brad Keselowski

4. Kurt Busch

5. Kevin Harvick

6. Daniel Hemric

7. Clint Bowyer

8. Martin Truex Jr.

9. Austin Dillon

10. Kyle Busch

11. Joey Logano

12. William Byron

13. Jimmie Johnson

14. Paul Menard

15. Ryan Blaney

16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

17. Michael McDowell

18. Denny Hamlin

19. Kyle Larson

20. Chase Elliott

21. Erik Jones

22. Alex Bowman

23. Ryan Newman

24. Matt DiBenedetto

25. David Ragan

26. Chris Buescher

27. Ty Dillon

28. Bubba Wallace

29. Corey Lajoie

30. Ryan Preece

31. Matt Tifft

32. Bayley Currey (i)

33. Ross Chastain (i)

34. Landon Cassill (i)

35. BJ McLeod (i)

36. Quin Houff

(i) – Ineligible to collect Cup Series points

Failed To Qualify

None

QUALIFYING NOTES

  • Daniel Suarez earned just the second pole of his NASCAR career (Pocono, July 2018). It’s the fifth in 19 races this season for Stewart-Haas Racing (Kevin Harvick, 3; Aric Almirola, 1).
  • Aric Almirola (second) earned his sixth front-row starting spot of the year.
  • Kurt Busch (fourth) was the highest-qualifying Chevrolet.
  • Daniel Hemric (sixth) was the fastest rookie in the field. He’s working on a streak of five straight top-20 finishes.
  • Martin Truex Jr. (eighth) was the highest-qualifying Toyota. Truex has five straight top-10 starts at Kentucky and is going for his third straight win at the track.
  • Bayley Currey (32nd) returns to the Rick Ware No. 51 for his ninth Cup start this season. Currey’s running a limited schedule with the team.
  • B.J. McLeod (35th) moves over to the Rick Ware Racing No. 52 for this weekend, replacing JJ Yeley.
  • Quin Houff (36th) jumps back into the No. 77 of Spire Motorsports one week after Justin Haley won in that car at Daytona.

NASCAR RACE BREAKDOWN

Race: Quaker State 400

Track: Kentucky Speedway (Sparta, Ky.)

Date: Saturday, July 13

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN

Radio: PRN, SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 267 laps (400 miles)

Stage 1: 80 Laps

Stage 2: 80 Laps

Final Stage: 107 Laps

PRE-KENTUCKY NEWS

Leavine Family Racing’s Bob Leavine talks about the ups and downs of the No. 95 team in 2019 with Matt DiBenedetto and whether he’ll expand to a second car in 2020. Check out this special interview with the Frontstretch podcast before the team unloaded this weekend at Kentucky Speedway.

Source: https://athlonsports.com/nascar/starting-lineup-saturdays-quaker-state-400-kentucky-speedway-nascar-2019

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