NASCAR unveiled one of its new practice-and-qualifying formats for Cup Series races Saturday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
The starting lineup for Sunday’s Wise Power 400 (3:47 p.m. ET green flag; Fox, TSN1, MRN) was determined via the qualifying format NASCAR will use for ovals in 2022. There are separate formats for ovals, superspeedways, road courses and the Bristol dirt track.
The 36 cars that were entered for the Fontana race were split into two groups based on the order of finish in last weekend’s Daytona 500 — odd-numbered finishers in Group A, even-numbered finishers in Group B. First came a 15-minute practice followed by two rounds of single-car, one-lap qualifying. The five fastest cars in each group in the first round transferred to the second round. The driver with the highest speed in the one-lap, single-car final round was awarded the pole.
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On-track qualifying is scheduled for all races this season. It was stopped early in the 2020 season and limited to eight races in the 2021 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. NASCAR scaled back qualifying to help reduce the amount of time teams spent at the track.
Who won the pole for the NASCAR race at Fontana?
Team Penske’s Austin Cindric, the winner of last weekend’s Daytona 500, captured the pole with a qualifying speed of 174.647 mph. It is his first pole in the Cup Series.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) February 26, 2022
Multiple cars spun during the final round. William Byron, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano all lost control of their machines.
Starting lineup for Fontana race
Only the 36 charter teams in the Cup Series were entered for the Wise Power 400 at Auto Club Speedway. No open teams attempted to make the race.
Kurt Busch’s 23XI Racing car failed prequalifying inspection. Busch qualified last as a result and will start at the rear of the field Sunday.
|Starting pos.||Driver||Car No.||Team|
|1||Austin Cindric||2||Team Penske|
|2||Erik Jones||43||Petty GMS Motorsports|
|3||Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|4||Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|5||Daniel Hemric||16||Kaulig Racing|
|6||Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske|
|7||Joey Logano||22||Team Penske|
|8||Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports|
|9||Brad Keselowski||6||RFK Racing|
|10||William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports|
|11||Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing|
|12||Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|13||Kyle Larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports|
|14||Alex Bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports|
|15||Daniel Suarez||99||Trackhouse Racing|
|16||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing|
|17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|18||Ty Dillon||42||Petty GMS Motorsports|
|19||Christopher Bell||20||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|20||Chris Buescher||17||RFK Racing|
|21||Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|22||Harrison Burton||21||Wood Brothers Racing|
|23||Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports|
|24||Chase Briscoe||14||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|25||Corey LaJoie||7||Spire Motorsports|
|26||Todd Gilliland||38||Front Row Motorsports|
|27||Cody Ware||51||Rick Ware Racing|
|28||Josh Bilicki||77||Spire Motorsports|
|29||Garrett Smithley||15||Rick Ware Racing|
|30||BJ McLeod||78||Live Fast Motorsports|
|31||Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|32||Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|33||Ross Chastain||1||Trackhouse Racing|
|34||Bubba Wallace||23||23XI Racing|
|35||Justin Haley||31||Kaulig Racing|
|36||Kurt Busch||45||23XI Racing|