JOLIET, Ill – Richard Childress Racing is feeling confident heading into Sunday’s Camping World 400 (3 p.m. ET/NBCSN/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The two drivers said that they didn’t trim out in qualifying and here they are taking two of the top three starting positions for Sunday’s Camping World 400 (3 p.m. ET/NBCSN/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Austin Dillon will lead the field to green in his No. 3 Chevrolet with the North Carolina native turning in a lap of 176.263 mph. It was Dillon’s third Busch Pole Award of the season and sixth of his career. His teammate Daniel Hemric will roll off third in his No. 8 Chevrolet. The rookie turned in a speed of 175.959 mph en route to a third starting spot for Sunday’s race.
Kevin Harvick will start second in his No. 4 Ford. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver circled the 1.5-mile track with a speed of 176.091 mph. Harvick, enters the race now as the favorite. Despite not having reached victory lane at all in 2019, Harvick was third in both of the practice sessions run on Saturday on single lap speed but second and first respectively on the 10 lap average chart. He also finished third in this race in each of the last two years too.
Jimmie Johnson (175.678 mph) and Kurt Busch (175.558 mph) rounded out the top five. Here are my main takeaways from Saturday’s session.
Toyota’s May Be In Trouble
The Joe Gibbs Racing camp was surprisingly off. They enter having won four straight races in Chicagoland and five of the last six overall. Also, they’ve won 10 of the 16 races run in 2019 too.
Instead, they failed to get into the top five of single lap speeds.
Denny Hamlin was 10th and 13th respectively while the defending race winner Kyle Busch was 16th and 14th respectively himself. Last weeks winner Martin Truex Jr. was only 23rd and 19th respectively while Erik Jones was 22nd and 17th repetitively. On the 10 lap averages, Hamlin was 16th and eighth, Busch was 20th and sixth, Jones was 15th in both sessions while Truex was 17th in final practice.
I don’t like where they sit right now. They’ll start 9th (Hamlin), 17th (Busch), 18th (Truex Jr.) and 21st (Jones) respectively.
A New Winner?
Between them, JGR and Team Penske have won 15 of the 16 races run in 2019. The only other team to have won this year was Hendrick Motorsports (Chase Elliott) in Talladega. But, if you look at how this field lines up, we have some new drivers/teams up front.
Richard Childress Racing has two of the top three positions. Stewart-Haas Racing has two of the top six starting spots. Hendrick Motorsports put two cars in the top eight, neither were Elliott.
The best starter among Penske/JGR is Hamlin in ninth. Ryan Blaney for Penske starts 10th.
Penske only starts 10th (Blaney), 12th (Brad Keselowski) and 19th (Joey Logano).
JGR starts 9th (Hamlin), 17th (Busch), 18th (Truex) and 21st (Jones).
Can they move through the field? The pace hasn’t been there for any of them this weekend.
Chevy’s Showing Strength
Chevrolet has just one win all season and five since they debuted the Camaro for the 2018 season and beyond. But, they look strong so far this weekend. Four of the top five starters are bowties including three of which being from different organizations. So far, it looks like this could be their race to lose. But, will they?
Camping World 400 Starting Lineup
Row 1: Austin Dillon, Kevin Harvick
Row 2: Daniel Hemric, Jimmie Johnson
Row 3: Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer
Row 4: Michael McDowell, Alex Bowman
Row 5: Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney
Row 6: William Byron, Brad Keselowski
Row 7: Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson
Row 8: Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman
Row 9: Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr.
Row 10: Joey Logano, Ty Dillon
Row 11: Erik Jones, Matt Tifft R
Row 12: Ryan Preece R, David Ragan
Row 13: Paul Menard, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Row 14: Darrell Wallace Jr., Chris Buescher
Row 15: Daniel Suarez, Matt DiBenedetto
Row 16: Corey LaJoie, Ross Chastain
Row 17: Bayley Currey, Landon Cassill
Row 18: BJ McLeod, Quin Houff
Row 19: Josh Bilicki, Reed Sorenson