CONCORD, NC – The drivers were all concerned about this weekend’s action on the ROVAL at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. In fact, several stated that the starting position for Sunday’s Bank of America ROVAL 400 (2 p.m. ET/NBC/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) would be the biggest key of the race itself.
Expect carnage early and often. With how tight Turn 1 is going to be and how the infield road course section plays out, everyone is expecting an early race crash. If that happens, the track isn’t wide enough to get by which will bottleneck everyone up creating a chain reaction crash.
So, while six of the top seven in Sunday’s starting lineup are playoff drivers, several more struggled and are on notice for this weekend’s cut off race.
Kurt Busch is sitting pretty with earning the pole in his No. 41 Ford. He circled the 2.28-mile track with a speed of 106.868 mph. It was his 26th career Busch Pole Award tying him with Bobby Labonte for 29th all-time. This was also his fourth pole of the season too and third top six starting spot over the last four races.
Five other playoff drivers will join him up front with Alex Bowman (3rd), Chase Elliott (4th), Kyle Larson (5th), Jimmie Johnson (6th) and Clint Bowyer (7th). The only non playoff driver in the first 3 Rows is AJ Allmendinger who will roll off second in his No. 47 Chevrolet.
The bigger story though is who’s not up there.
The “Big 4?”
Well none made it to the final round of qualifying and will start in harms way.
Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch will share Row 7 in starting 13th and 14th respectively. Kevin Harvick will start 19th. Brad Keselowski starts 25th.
Denny Hamlin got into the wall while exiting the backstretch chicane and while he was able to fix his damage, he only qualify 27th. The team will change the motor and fix all the problems and just start last. He had seven top four starting spots in the last nine races.
Joey Logano (15th), Aric Almirola (20th) and Austin Dillon (24th) also will start in the back.
Bank of America ROVAL 400 Starting Lineup
Row 1: Kurt Busch, AJ Allmendinger
Row 2: Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott
Row 3: Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson
Row 4: Clint Bowyer, Jamie McMurray
Row 5: Ryan Blaney, Chris Buescher
Row 6: Daniel Hemric, Erik Jones
Row 7: Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch
Row 8: Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne
Row 9: Daniel Suarez, Michael McDowell
Row 10: Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola
Row 11: William Byron R, Paul Menard
Row 12: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Austin Dillon
Row 13: Brad Keselowski, Ty Dillon
Row 14: Denny Hamlin, Matt DiBenedetto
Row 15: Ryan Newman, David Ragan
Row 16: Justin Marks, Regan Smith
Row 17: Cole Whitt, Darrell Wallace Jr. R
Row 18: Ross Chastain, JJ Yeley
Row 19: Jeffrey Earnhardt, Landon Cassill
Row 20: Stanton Barrett, Timmy Hill