NASCAR reveals competition rule changes for Darlington

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A random draw will play a role in determining the starting lineup for Sunday’s Cup race at Darlington Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET on Fox), NASCAR announced Tuesday.

NASCAR also revealed that the field will be frozen during the Lap 30 competition caution and allowed to pit two separate times.

The starting lineup for Sunday’s Cup race at Darlington will be set by owner points and a random draw. NASCAR has not determined when the draw will take place but it is expected to be before Sunday.

Positions 1-12 will be set by a random draw from charter teams in those positions in owner points.

What that means is that Kevin Harvick, whose team ranks first in car owner points, no longer is guaranteed to start on the pole. His team could team draw the No. 1 spot or as low as the No. 12 spot. Kyle Busch is 12th in car owner points. If his team is lucky, he could end up starting on the pole based on the random draw.

Or Matt Kenseth could end up on the pole in his first Cup race since the end of the 2018 season. Kenseth makes his season debut in the No. 42 car for Chip Ganassi Racing this weekend. That team is seventh in car owner points.

Those in the top 12 in car owner points are (in order from first): Harvick, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney, Kenseth, Aric Almirola, Matt DiBenedetto, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.

Here is how the rest of the starting lineup will be set:

Positions 13-24 will be set by a random draw from charter teams in those positions in owner points.

Those drivers (in order from 13th in car owner points are): Clint Bowyer, Chris Buescher, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Bubba Wallace, William Byron, Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Erik Jones, Cole Custer and Corey LaJoie.

Positions 25-36 will be set by a random draw from charter teams in those positions in owner points.

Those drivers (in order from 25th in car owner points are): Ty Dillon, Tyler Reddick, John Hunter Nemechek, Michael McDowell, Garrett Smithley, Brennan Poole, Reed Sorenson, Christopher Bell, Ryan Preece, Joey Gase, Quin Houff and JJ Yeley.

Positions 37-40 will be for non-chartered teams based in order of owner points. Those drivers are Daniel SuarezTimmy Hill, Josh Bilicki and BJ McLeod.

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Pit stalls will be picked in order based on charter team owner points followed by non-chartered team owner points. Harvick’s team will have the first choice of pit stalls since it is first in car owner points.

NASCAR also announced changes to the competition caution for Sunday’s Darlington race. The changes are being made since teams will not have any practice or qualifying before the race. This will give teams extra time to make needed adjustments.

The field will be frozen at the time of the caution on Lap 30.

When pit road is open, only the top 20 cars will be allowed to pit. Each car that pits must beat the pace car off pit road to retain its position.

On the next lap, the other 20 cars will pit. Each car that pits must beat the pace car off pit road to retain its position.

Then, the top 20 cars will be allowed to pit a second time. On the next lap, the other 20 cars will be allowed to pit again.

After the second cycle for each team is completed, the lineup will be set and the race will resume.

Infractions under this modified competition caution structure are:

  • Not beating the pace car off pit road results in loss of lap and restarting at tail of the field.
  • Pitting more than twice or out of sequence results in restarting at the tail of the field.
  • All current pit road rules are in effect.