NASCAR: Daytona starting lineup if qualifying is canceled

Daytona International Speedway, Coke Zero Sugar 400, NASCAR (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Daytona International Speedway, Coke Zero Sugar 400, NASCAR (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

Rain and Daytona Beach, Florida go hand in hand, so what happens if Friday’s NASCAR Cup Series qualifying session for Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 doesn’t happen?

The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series regular season is set to come to a close this Saturday night (7:00 p.m. ET) at Daytona International Speedway, and qualifying for the Coke Zero Sugar 400 is scheduled to take place on Friday (5:05 p.m. ET).

Believe it or not, the weather forecast is actually promising leading up to this 160-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona Beach, Florida oval. According to The Weather Channel, there is just a 14% chance of rain during qualifying and just a 6% chance of rain on Saturday.

Nevertheless, you can never underestimate the potential of rain in Florida, so it is worth taking a look at how the starting lineup will look for Saturday’s race (or Sunday’s, if it gets rained out like it did last year) if Friday’s qualifying session can’t take place as planned.

Four variables are taken into account.

  • 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%)
  • The rank of the driver’s fastest lap in the most recent race (15%)

This formula was introduced in August 2020 as a way to set to starting lineups in the absence of qualifying, and it remains the regular formula used to set the qualifying orders when qualifying sessions do take place. It serves its original purpose when they don’t.

Here’s how the Coke Zero Sugar 400 lineup will look if qualifying is canceled on Friday.

Possible Daytona lineup
1st – Denny Hamlin
2nd – William Byron
3rd – Christopher Bell
4th – Martin Truex Jr.
5th – Chris Buescher
6th – Ty Gibbs
7th – A.J. Allmendinger
8th – Tyler Reddick
9th – Ryan Blaney
10th – Brad Keselowski
11th – Kyle Busch
12th – Joey Logano
13th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
14th – Ross Chastain
15th – Bubba Wallace
16th – Kyle Larson
17th – Todd Gilliland
18th – Kevin Harvick
19th – Ryan Preece
20th – Austin Cindric
21st – Corey LaJoie
22nd – Daniel Suarez
23rd – Chase Elliott
24th – Alex Bowman
25th – Justin Haley
26th – Michael McDowell
27th – Austin Dillon
28th – Erik Jones
29th – Aric Almirola
30th – Chase Briscoe
31st – Harrison Burton
32nd – Josh Berry
33rd – Brennan Poole
34th – Ty Dillon
35th – J.J. Yeley
36th – B.J. McLeod
37th – Riley Herbst
38th – Austin Hill
39th – Chandler Smith

FanDuel Sportsbook, which is offering fans an instant $200 simply for signing up and betting $5, lists Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott as the +1100 favorite to win Saturday night’s race.

With odds and availability subject to change, lock in your $200 now before it’s too late!

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The Coke Zero Sugar 400 is scheduled to be broadcast live on NBC from Daytona International Speedway starting at 7:00 p.m. ET this Saturday, August 26. Be sure to start a free trial of FuboTV now and tune in!