If dirt experience proves to be key factor, the pole-sitter for the first Cup dirt race since 1970 could come from the second qualifying race Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
That 10-car qualifying race features Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (starting seventh), Christopher Bell (eighth) and Austin Dillon (ninth). Finishing position and passing points will set the field for Sunday’s Cup race. Should any of them win after starting from the back, that could be enough to get them the pole for Sunday’s race. It won’t be easy. Former Cup champion Brad Keselowski starts on the pole for that qualifying race and Mike Marlar, the 2018 World of Outlaws Late Model Dirt Series champion, starts second.
WHERE EVERYONE IS STARTING: Bristol Cup qualifying race lineups
MORE: Bristol weekend schedule
In the fourth and final qualifying race, Corey LaJoie starts on the pole. Matt DiBenedetto starts second. The second row features reigning USAC midget champion Chris Windom, making his Cup debut, and Kyle Busch. The rear of the qualifying race features Ryan Blaney (seventh), Chase Elliott (eighth) and Chase Briscoe (last in the nine-car race).
The starting lineup for Sunday’s race will be based off points earned in the 15-lap qualifying races (only green-flag laps will count).
The winner of each qualifying heat race gets 10 points with nine points for second and down to 1 point for 10th. Drivers also can earn passing points based on the difference from their assigned starting position and their finishing position. If drivers finish below where they start, they get zero passing points. All 39 cars entered will make Sunday’s race.
All four qualifying races are Saturday.
NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol
Race time: 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway (1/2-mile dirt track)
Forecast: The wunderground.com forecast calls for a high of 62 degrees and a 75% chance of rain.
Length: 250 laps (125 miles)
Stages: Stage 1 ends Lap 75. Stage 2 ends Lap 150.
TV coverage: Fox
Radio: Performance Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
Starting lineup: Bristol Cup qualifying race lineups
Next Truck race: Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway (150 laps, 75 miles), 8 p.m. ET on FS1
Next Xfinity race: April 9 at Martinsville Speedway (250 laps, 131.5 miles), 8 p.m. ET on FS1
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