William Byron and Alex Bowman give Hendrick a sweep of Charlotte roval front row

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nascar/sprint/drivers/3791/" data-ylk="slk:William Byron">William Byron</a> has five poles in 2019. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
William Byron has five poles in 2019. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

William Byron and Alex Bowman enter Sunday’s race at the Charlotte roval needing great days to advance to the second round of the playoffs. They will have great starting spots to try to make that happen.

Byron scored his fifth pole of the season on Friday and will be joined by his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Bowman on the front row on Sunday. Byron is 12th in the standings, two points ahead of Bowman in 13th. The top 12 drivers from the first round of the playoffs advance to the second round and the drivers from ninth to 15th in the points standings are separated by just 26 points. Sunday’s race is the third and final race of the first round of the 16-driver playoffs.

Joey Logano will start third while Jimmie Johnson starts fourth. The top five is filled out by Clint Bowyer, one of those drivers in the gaggle from ninth to 15th. Bowyer is in 14th, two points behind Bowman and four points behind Byron.

Sunday’s race is the second on the hybrid road course/oval layout at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 2018 race was won by Ryan Blaney after Johnson spun under braking in the final corners of the last lap and took out Martin Truex Jr. attempting to make a pass for the win.

Denny Hamlin has a listed starting position of 28th but he’ll drop to the rear of the field before the race because he crashed his primary car during Friday’s practice session and qualified in his backup car.

Starting lineup

1. William Byron

2. Alex Bowman

3. Joey Logano

4. Jimmie Johnson

5. Clint Bowyer

6. Kevin Harvick

7. Kyle Larson

8. Martin Truex Jr.

9. Ryan Blaney

10. Paul Menard

11. Brad Keselowski

12. Chris Buescher

13. Daniel Suarez

14. Ryan Preece

15. Erik Jones

16. Aric Almirola

17. Kyle Busch

18. Matt DiBenedetto

19. Chase Elliott

20. Daniel Hemric

21. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

22. Michael McDowell

23. Kurt Busch

24. Ryan Newman

25. Bubba Wallace

26. Corey LaJoie

27. David Ragan

28. Denny Hamlin

29. Ty Dillon

30. Austin Dillon

31. Cody Ware

32. Landon Cassill

33. Timmy Hill

34. Josh Bilicki

35. Garrett Smithley

36. Matt Tifft

37. Ross Chastain

38. Reed Sorenson

39. Joe Nemechek

40. Parker Kligerman

Playoff standings

1. Martin Truex Jr. [clinched advancement]

2. Kevin Harvick [clinched advancement]

3. Kyle Busch [clinched advancement]

4. Brad Keselowski, 2,106 points

5. Denny Hamlin, 2,105

6. Joey Logano, 2,101

7. Chase Elliott, 2,088

8. Kyle Larson, 2,076

9. Ryan Newman, 2,065

10. Ryan Blaney, 2,059

11. Aric Almirola, 2,054

12. William Byron, 2,053

13. Alex Bowman, 2,051

14. Clint Bowyer, 2,049

15. Kurt Busch, 2,039

16. Erik Jones, 2,008

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