As it turns out, scoring the most wins in the regular season can lead to more perks than just bonus points in the first round of the Chase.
Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski will lead the field to green in Sunday’s Chase opening Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 after rain showers on Friday forced NASCAR to cancel Sprint Cup Series qualifying, setting the field by their position in the Chase.
Because of the move, the 16 teams that made the Chase will occupy the first 16 positions on the track, leading the field to start the event while adorned with yellow nameplates showing their Twitter usernames. The rest of the field will be set by owner’s points.
Busch will be credited with the pole after topping the standings with four wins entering the Chase. Keselowski will start second, with Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards rounding out the top 5. Martin Truex, Jr., Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and Kyle Larson will complete the top 10.
Making up the rest of the front 16 with be Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Chris Buescher, Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon and Jamie McMurray.
Alex Bowman will roll off in 17th as he returns to the substitute driver roll for Hendrick Motorsports, driving the No. 88 typically manned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver, Earnhardt will miss the remainder of the season with concussion-like symptoms.
Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne and Trevor Bayne will complete the top 20. With only 40 entrants, no teams will miss Sunday’s race.
The Sprint Cup Series will return to the 1.5-mile Chicagoland oval at 5:45 p.m. for an hour-long practice session. It will be the first track time for NASCAR’s top series, and their only trip on-track during Friday. The series will return on Saturday for two practice sessions in preparation for Sunday’s opening race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
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…Qualifying rained out. Given the lame format, this “pole” is not earned, but given. So is the pit stall selection which sadly is a big deal. Unfair nod to a team(s)..little things like this add up to be big
things, which it should not. As we are learning from watching this insipid format over the last full two years.
Chase drivers in the first 16 spots. Won’t be much passing after NA$CAR says don’t touch the chasers for the rrest of the races.