Rain showers in the Atlanta area on Saturday ultimately cancelled NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart (3 p.m. ET, USA Network, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Season owners points instead decided the grid order with Georgia native Chase Elliott starting his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet from the pole position, alongside Floridian Ross Chastain in the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet. Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson – Elliott’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate – and Tyler Reddick will start from the second row giving Chevrolet a lock on the top four positions on the grid.
23XI Racing’s Kurt Busch is the defending race winner. However, Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron won in the March 2022 debut of the newly-configured 1.54-mile Atlanta high-banks.
Elliott is still racing for his first victory at his home track. He has an impressive six top-10 finishes in eight starts at Atlanta with a best showing of fifth in 2017. He was sixth in this season’s spring race.
“I would love to win here,’’ Elliott said. “That would be one of the best things to do, to win at your home track. I’ve watched guys do that over the years and you can tell that means a lot to them. I think it would be very much the same for me. It would be meaningful to be able to check that box.
“We’ve been okay here. We had one really good run, I would say and the rest of them, just kind of mediocre. Now the way that it is with speedway racing, it’s a bit of a toss-up. I think anybody has a shot this weekend the way the event is now.’’
Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick complete the top 10. William Byron, who won at Atlanta in March, starts 13th.
Rain also thwarted Xfinity Series qualifying, which was canceled earlier Saturday morning.