NASCAR lineup at Texas: Starting order, pole for Sunday’s race without qualifying

The starting lineup and pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway were set by the procedure that has determined the starting order for almost all Cup Series races in 2020 that have run without prior qualifying sessions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The starting grid for Sunday’s race at Texas, scheduled to start at 3:17 p.m. ET and broadcast live on NBC, features Fords from different teams in the top two spots as a result of the procedure that utilizes a combination of points standings and a random draw to set the lineup. A Chevrolet, a Toyota and another Ford round out the top five.

As for pit stall selection for the NASCAR Cup Series races being run without qualifying, it is ordered based on finishing positions from the series’ previous points race, followed by new entries in order of points. That means Cole Custer, the surprise winner last weekend at Kentucky, will have the first stall at Texas. 

Below is the starting lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR race at Texas and how it was set.

Who won the pole for the NASCAR race at Texas?

The pole position for Sunday’s NASCAR race at Texas belongs to Aric Almirola, who was given the No. 1 position Thursday in a random draw. Almirola is still seeking his first win of the 2020 season, but he and his Stewart-Haas Racing team have been highly competitive of late with six consecutive top-10 finishes in points races. An eighth-place finish at Kentucky ended a streak of five consecutive top-fives.

Next to Almirola will be Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney, who has one win (Talladega) and has been very good on 1.5-mile tracks since NASCAR’s return from its COVID-19 hiatus. He has two thirds at Charlotte, a fourth at Atlanta, a third at Homestead and a sixth at Kentucky.

Behind Almirola and Blaney in the top five will be Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Almirola’s teammate Kevin Harvick. Kyle Busch is still without a win in the Cup Series this year, but he’s coming off a weekend “sweep” of the Xfinity and Truck Series races at Texas.

Below is the protocol for how the Cup Series field was set at Texas:

Positions 1-12: Random draw from charter teams in those positions in owner points
Positions 13-24: Random draw from charter teams in those positions in owner points
Positions 25-36: Random draw from charter teams in those positions in owner points
Positions 37-40: Open teams in order of owners points

NASCAR starting lineup at Texas

The same protocol that set the lineup for Sunday’s Texas race will be used for all NASCAR Cup Series races that are not preceded by a qualifying session. As of now, there is no word on whether any of the races remaining on the 2020 schedule will feature qualifying.

NASCAR is proceeding without qualifying and practice sessions prior to races to limit time spent at the track amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The starting lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR race at Texas was drawn Thursday. Below are the results:

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