NASCAR: Pocono starting lineup if qualifying is canceled

Pocono Raceway, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
Pocono Raceway, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) /

Rain has affected quite a few NASCAR Cup Series race weekends this season. What happens if it results in another canceled qualifying session at Pocono Raceway?

There have been several NASCAR Cup Series race weekends that have seen their schedules altered in some capacity as a result of inclement weather so far in 2023.

Several races have seen their qualifying sessions canceled, resulting in their starting lineups being set by the qualifying metric.

It doesn’t look like the same thing will happen for Sunday afternoon’s at Pocono Raceway, as there is only a 6% chance of rain on Saturday afternoon, according to The Weather Channel. Qualifying is scheduled to take place at 3:20 p.m. ET. on Saturday. This race weekend could very well become the first since mid-June not to be affected by rain.

But there is still a chance of precipitation, which makes now a good time to remind ourselves about the NASCAR qualifying metric.

The qualifying metric, which was introduced in 2020 and kept in 2021 as a way of setting the starting lineups in the absence of qualifying, is still used in 2023.

It was retained in 2022 as a way to determine the qualifying orders (in reverse order of what the starting lineups would be), and it is remains used in that capacity. That being said, it is still used to set starting lineups when qualifying sessions are canceled.

It takes into account four factors: the driver’s finish in the most recent event (25%), the car owner’s finish in the most recent event (25%), the car owner’s rank in the owner standings (35%), and the rank of the driver’s fastest lap in the most recent event (15%).

The first two categories are combined into one category weighted at 50% for drivers who drive the same cars in each race.

Here is what the starting lineup will look like for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race if Saturday’s qualifying session is rained out.

Provisional Pocono Starting Lineup

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

Martin Truex Jr. would interestingly be on pole with first place in each of those four categories. He is the new points leader and won the most recent race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway behind the wheel of the No. 19 Toyota. He did it after setting the race’s fastest lap around the four-turn, 1.058-mile (1.703-kilometer) Loudon, New Hampshire oval.

But if Saturday afternoon’s single-car qualifying session is able to take place as scheduled, the drivers listed in the even positions above are in group one, and the drivers listed in the odds positions are in group two.

They would qualify in reverse order, and the fastest five drivers in each group would advance to the second round shootout for the pole position.

FanDuel Sportsbook, which is offering fans $100 just for signing up and placing a single $5 bet (no promo code needed!), lists Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Truex and Denny Hamlin as the co-favorites to win Sunday’s 400.

With odds and availability subject to change, lock in your $100 now before it’s too late!

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USA Network is set to broadcast the 400 live from Pocono Raceway starting at 2:30 p.m. ET this Sunday, July 23. Take advantage of FuboTV’s free trial offer now and don’t miss it!