NASCAR: Watkins Glen starting lineup if qualifying is canceled

Watkins Glen, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Watkins Glen, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Should NASCAR Cup Series qualifying not be able to take place as planned at Watkins Glen International, here is how the starting lineup will look.

The NASCAR Cup Series is set for its final road course race of the 2023 regular season this weekend at Watkins Glen International, with the Go Bowling at The Glen scheduled to take place on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday’s race is the fourth road course race and the fifth non-oval race on this year’s schedule, and it is the 25th of 26 races before the four-round, 10-race playoffs.

There is a 20% chance of rain on Saturday afternoon when qualifying is scheduled to take place, according to The Weather Channel. What will the starting lineup look like for the penultimate race of the regular season if qualifying doesn’t take place as scheduled?

Here’s a look.

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

In all likelihood, the Cup Series qualifying session will happen as scheduled. For as weather-affected as the summer schedule has been, there hasn’t been a canceled qualifying session since the end of May at Charlotte Motor Speedway. But you never know when there will be a popup shower in the summer.

Here’s how the above lineup was generated.

NASCAR introduced a formula to set starting lineups in the absence of qualifying in 2020, and that metric is still used when qualifying is canceled.

It factors in four variables: the driver’s finish in the most recent race (25%), the car owner’s finish in the most recent race (25%), the car owner’s rank in the owner standings (35%), and the driver’s fastest lap rank in the most recent race (15%). The first two categories are combined for drivers who drive the same cars every race.

When qualifying does happen, the formula is still used to set the qualifying order for oval races. In the case of road and street course events, it is used to set the qualifying groups. In both cases, the fastest five drivers in each group advance to the 10-driver shootout for the pole position.

DraftKings Sportsbook, which is offering a promotion in which fans receive an instant $150 just for betting $5, lists Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott as the +350 favorite to win Sunday afternoon’s race.

With odds and availability always subject to change, lock in your $150 now before it’s too late!

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The Go Bowling at The Glen is set to be broadcast live on USA Network from Watkins Glen International starting at 3:00 p.m. ET this Sunday, August 20. Start a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss it!