NASCAR: Atlanta starting lineup if qualifying is canceled

Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

What will the starting lineup look like for Sunday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway if qualifying is canceled?

Several NASCAR Cup Series qualifying sessions have been rained out already this season, and there is a chance for rain again this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Neither one of the two races at Atlanta Motor Speedway last year had their starting lineups set by qualifying, as both qualifying sessions were canceled.

The qualifying session for this past March’s race at the four-turn, 1.54-mile (2.478-kilometer) Hampton, Georgia oval, which was repaved and reconfigured ahead of the 2022 season, was the first at the track since 2019, as qualifying was largely abandoned across the schedule in 2020 and 2021.

According to The Weather Channel, there is a 19% chance for rain on Saturday, July 8. Cup Series qualifying for Sunday night’s Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. ET this Saturday.

Summer rain in Georgia would not be anything new. In fact, there is a 39% chance of scattered thunderstorms on Sunday night, which could cause yet another change to the schedule of a race weekend.

So in the event that precipitation does end up leading to the cancellation of qualifying this weekend, here is how the starting lineup will look.

Provisional Atlanta Starting Lineup
1st – Kyle Busch
2nd – Kyle Larson
3rd – Chase Elliott
4th – Denny Hamlin
5th – William Byron
6th – Chris Buescher
7th – Justin Haley
8th – Joey Logano
9th – Austin Cindric
10th – Ty Gibbs
11th – Michael McDowell
12th – Christopher Bell
13th – Ross Chastain
14th – Martin Truex Jr.
15th – Corey LaJoie
16th – Aric Almirola
17th – Ryan Preece
18th – Tyler Reddick
19th – Brad Keselowski
20th – A.J. Allmendinger
21st – Erik Jones
22nd – Kevin Harvick
23rd – Daniel Suarez
24th – Todd Gilliland
25th – Ryan Blaney
26th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
27th – Bubba Wallace
28th – Alex Bowman
29th – Noah Gragson
30th – Austin Dillon
31st – Chase Briscoe
32nd – Harrison Burton
33rd – J.J. Yeley
34th – Cole Custer
35th – B.J.McLeod
36th – Ty Dillon
37th – Austin Hill

Atlanta Motor Speedway is now considered a superspeedway, so this list was generated by simply revering the qualifying order.

Group qualifying is not used for NASCAR superspeedway races, and that includes Atlanta races.

The qualifying order is determined by the qualifying metric, which was introduced in 2020 as a way to set the starting lineup in the absence of qualifying due to COVID-19-related restrictions. The metric is still used whenever qualifying cannot be held.

Four variables are included in this metric: the driver’s result in the most recent race (25%), the car owner’s result in the most recent race (25%), the rank of the car owner in the owner standings (35%), and the rank of the driver’s fastest lap in the most recent race (15%).

For drivers who drive the same car each race, the first two categories are combined into one larger category which is weighted at 50%.

The only difference is that for the qualifying order, the order is sorted with the higher values and corresponding up top. When this metric is used to set the starting lineup, the order is sorted with the lower values and corresponding drivers up top.

If qualifying does happen, the fastest 10 drivers in the first round advance to the second round to battle for the pole position.

FanDuel Sportsbook, which is now offering fans an instant $200 just for signing up and betting $20, lists Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch and Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott as the co-favorites to win Sunday’s race at +1100.

All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. dark. Next

Tune in to USA Network at 7:00 p.m. ET this Sunday, July 9 for the live broadcast of the Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart from Atlanta Motor Speedway. If you have not yet started a free trial of FuboTV, do so today!