NASCAR: How will Charlotte qualifying be conducted?

Here is how NASCAR plans to go about setting the starting lineups for the two upcoming Cup Series races at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR officially got back underway at Darlington Raceway this past Sunday, May 17 and Wednesday, May 20 following a 10-week hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This past week’s action was the first since the Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, March 8.

Following the two scheduled races at the four-turn, 1.366-mile (2.198-kilometer) oval in Darlington, South Carolina this Sunday and then on Wednesday, May 20, NASCAR is scheduled to head to Charlotte Motor Speedway for two more races, including the originally scheduled Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 24.

The four-turn, 1.5-mile (2.414-kilometer) oval in Concord, North Carolina is then scheduled to host a second race, the Alsco Uniforms 500, on Wednesday, May 27. Beyond that, the schedule for the 2020 season is only confirmed through Sunday, June 21, although NASCAR has made clear that they still plan to run 36 Cup Series races this year.

Due to the shortened weekend schedule, it goes without saying that qualifying will not be conduced in the manner that it would have been in a world without the threat of COVID-19. So how will the starting lineups be set for these two races?

The starting lineup for the first race, the originally scheduled 400-lap race, is actually slated to be set by a qualifying session, the first Cup Series qualifying session since Saturday, March 7. That qualifying session is scheduled to be held earlier in the day on race day beginning at 2:00 p.m.ET, with live TV coverage provided by Fox Sports 1.

The starting lineup for the second race is slated to be set the same way by which the second race at Darlington Raceway was set. The drivers who finish in the top 20 in the first race are set to start in the top 20 for the second race, but in reverse order. So the race winner will start in 20th place while the 20th place finisher will start from the pole position.

However, the drivers who finish outside of the top 20 in the first race will start the second race where they finished, so the 21st place driver will start in 21st. Any new entries will be added to the rear of the field.

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These two races are set to be broadcast live from Charlotte Motor Speedway on Fox beginning at 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 24 and on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 27.

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