By virtue of the finishing order of Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series Race at the Pocono Raceway, the starting lineup for Sunday’s historic doubleheader is also set.
It’s a top 20 invert, meaning the race winner (Kevin Harvick) on Saturday will start 20th on Sunday. The 20th place finisher (Ryan Preece) from Saturday’s race earned the pole.
21st through 40th will start that way with no invert.
The lineup for Saturday was unveiled on Thursday night.
The starting lineup for Race 1 was set off a blind draw based off owners points. It’s the same as we’ve been using.
Owners points 1-12 drew for starting spots in the first 6 Rows.
Owners points 13-24 drew for sports from Row 7 through Row 12.
Owners points for 25-36 for charter teams will start in spots 25th-36th based off a blind draw too.
Then, spots 37-40 were based off points for non charter teams.
Where this matters is, starting position matters at Pocono. Five of the last six race winners have come from the top 10. In fact, since 2014, 11 of the 13 Cup Series races have been won from a top 10 starting spot with one of those two not being Chris Buescher’s fluke rain shortened win in 2016. Furthermore, we’ve started a Pocono race on points five times — all six were won by a top 10 starter with four of which from the top five itself.
So, the positioning in owners points was key.
Pocono 350 Starting Lineup
Row 1: Ryan Preece, Austin Dillon
Row 2: Kurt Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Row 3: Cole Custer R, Ryan Newman
Row 4: William Byron, Matt DiBenedetto
Row 5: Ryan Blaney, Matt Kenseth
Row 6: Chris Buescher, Brad Keselowski
Row 7: Michael McDowell, Clint Bowyer
Row 8: Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch
Row 9: Christopher Bell R, Aric Almirola
Row 10: Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick
Row 11: Jimmie Johnson, Bubba Wallace
Row 12: Corey LaJoie, John Hunter Nemechek R
Row 13: Chase Elliott, Ty Dillon
Row 14: Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez
Row 15: Brennan Poole R, Tyler Reddick R
Row 16: JJ Yeley, Josh Bilicki
Row 17: Garrett Smithley, James Davison
Row 18: Timmy Hill, Joey Logano
Row 19: Joey Gase, Erik Jones
Row 20: BJ McLeod, Quin Houff R