FORT WORTH, TX – Unfortunately, knockout qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday wasn’t much of a knockout format this evening. Lightning and rain affected the Dallas/Fort Worth area just after the opening round of the scheduled three round qualifying session had concluded.
Due to that, the starting lineup for Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 (2 p.m. ET/FS1/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) was set by the first round qualifying speeds. By virtue of that, Kurt Busch earned the top starting spot for Sunday’s race as the Las Vegas native circled the track at a speed of 197.368 mph.
It was Busch’s 23rd career Cup pole in 619 career starts, three of which occurring on the 1.5-mile track. Busch, started on the pole for the race last year in record setting fashion. He was also fastest in his No. 41 Ford in the lone practice session of the day earlier. But, Busch hasn’t had a top five finish at Texas since 2010.
Two of his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates will start right behind him in the lineup. Kevin Harvick will roll his No. 4 Ford off second after turning a lap of 197.116 mph in qualifying. Harvick, won the last time out at Texas and has two wins on 1.5-mile tracks in 2018.
The winner of the last race at Martinsville in Clint Bowyer will start third in his No. 14 Ford. Bowyer, turned a speed of 196.829 mph giving SHR a 1-2-3 sweep of the starting lineup. That trio was 1-2-3 in the exact same order in practice too.
The fourth member of the team Aric Almirola will start 12th.
Ryan Blaney gave Ford’s a 1-2-3-4 sweep as the Team Penske driver will start fourth in his No. 12 Ford. Blaney, circled the track with a speed of 196.600 mph.
Two Toyota’s in Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. will start fifth and sixth respectively. Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Larson were the only Chevrolet drivers in the top 14 as they will start ninth and 10th respectively.
O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Starting Lineup
Row 1: Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick
Row 2: Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney
Row 3: Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr.
Row 4: Joey Logano, Kyle Busch
Row 5: Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Larson
Row 6: Brad Keselowski, Aric Almirola
Row 7: Trevor Bayne, Daniel Suarez
Row 8: Darrell Wallace Jr., Alex Bowman
Row 9: Austin Dillon, Chris Buescher
Row 10: Paul Menard, Chase Elliott
Row 11: Erik Jones, AJ Allmendinger
Row 12: Ty Dillon, Jamie McMurray
Row 13: Ryan Newman, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Row 14: Michael McDowell, Kasey Kahne
Row 15: David Ragan, Matt DiBenedetto
Row 16: Ross Chastain R, Gray Gaulding
Row 17: William Byron R, Cole Whitt
Row 18: Landon Cassill, Harrison Rhodes R
Row 19: Reed Sorenson