NASCAR: Driver change ahead of Phoenix race

Garrett Smithley, Rick Ware Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Garrett Smithley, Rick Ware Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Garrett Smithley is set to compete for Rick Ware Racing in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway instead of J.J. Yeley.

J.J. Yeley was set to compete in this afternoon’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway, the Instacart 500, behind the wheel of the #53 Chevrolet for Rick Ware Racing.

Yeley was set to start this 312-lap race around the four-turn, 1.022-mile (1.645-kilometer) oval in Avondale, Arizona in 34th place.

However, he will not compete in it, as Garrett Smithley is set to take his place.

As a result of this driver change, the #53 Chevrolet is set to drop to the rear and start in 38th (last) place ahead of the green flag.

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Five other drivers are also set to drop to the rear ahead of today’s race. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Larson and William Byron as well as Petty Ware Racing’s Cody Ware are set to do so after their cars failed pre-race inspection twice.

Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott and StarCom Racing’s Quinn Houff are set to do so after unapproved adjustments were made to their cars. Factoring in all of the other pre-race penalties, here is how the 38 drivers are set to take the green flag in this afternoon’s Instacart 500 at Phoenix Raceway.

NOTE: Because original front row starter Kyle Larson was penalized, the drivers who will start in second and third place are yet to be determined. That will depend on which lane Brad Keselowski chooses as the polesitter. If he chooses the inside lane, Christopher Bell will move up from fourth to second. If he chooses the outside lane, Denny Hamlin will move up from third to second.

Starting Lineup
1st – Brad Keselowski
2nd – Christopher Bell
3rd – Denny Hamlin
4th – Ryan Blaney
5th – Martin Truex Jr.
6th – Kurt Busch
7th – Kyle Busch
8th – Erik Jones
9th – Joey Logano
10th – Michael McDowell
11th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
12th – Kevin Harvick
13th – Austin Dillon
14th – Matt DiBenedetto
15th – Ryan Preece
16th – Ross Chastain
17th – Chris Buescher
18th – Cole Custer
19th – Ryan Newman
20th – Chase Briscoe
21st – Alex Bowman
22nd – Anthony Alfredo
23rd – Tyler Reddick
24th – B.J. McLeod
25th – Bubba Wallace
26th – Aric Almirola
27th – Daniel Suarez
28th – Josh Bilicki
29th – Justin Haley
30th – James Davison
31st – Corey LaJoie
32nd – Kyle Larson
33rd – Timmy Hill
34th – Chase Elliott
35th – Cody Ware
36th – William Byron
37th – Quin Houff
38th – Garrett Smithley

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Tune in to Fox at 3:30 p.m. ET for live coverage of the Instacart 500 from Phoenix Raceway.