Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images
Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

NASCAR announces starting lineup procedures, modified competition caution for May events

NASCAR officials released information Tuesday about starting lineup and pit-selection procedures, plus a modified competition caution process to allow for more wide-ranging adjustments for upcoming events scheduled without practice or qualifying.

RELATED: Field sizes grow in select Xfinity, Gander Trucks races

Three of the next four events on the revised NASCAR Cup Series schedule will be held without Busch Pole Qualifying to determine a starting lineup; only the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24 will include time trials to set the field. The decision was made to host multiple events without practice and limited qualifying to restrict exposure and at-track time for crews in the wake of the coronavirus health crisis.

Starting lineup procedures for events without qualifying

When the series hosts its first event after the pandemic outbreak on May 17 at Darlington Raceway, the lineup will be determined in part by a random draw for starting positions:

  • Positions 1-12 will be determined by a random draw from charter teams in those positions in team owner points
  • Positions 13-24: Random draw among charter teams in those positions in owner points
  • Positions 25-36: Random draw among charter teams in those positions in owner points
  • Positions 37-40 will be filled out by open, non-chartered teams in order of owner points

The starting lineup for the next Cup Series event, scheduled May 20 at Darlington, will use the finishing order from May 17 as the basis for the lineup with one inversion:

  • Starting positions 1-20: The top 20 finishers from the May 17 event will be inverted for the start of the May 20 race
  • Starting positions 21-40: The bottom 20 finishers from the May 17 event will start from their finishing positions for the start of the May 20 race; any new entries will be placed at the tail of the field

Pit-stall selection for the May 17 event will be based on charter team owner points, then open team owner points. Pit selection for May 20 will be determined by the finishing order of the May 17 race.

For the two NASCAR Cup Series events scheduled at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the starting lineup will be determined by:

  • May 24: Same-day qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600
  • May 27: An inversion of positions 1-20, then positions 21-40 from the Coca-Cola 600 results

Pit-selection for Charlotte events will be determined May 24 by qualifying and then May 27 by the results of Coca-Cola 600.

Modified competition caution process introduced for events with no practice

All three NASCAR national series will have a modified competition caution in the early portions of each race. Those stoppages will include freezing the field to accommodate longer pit stops, allowing teams to make more extended in-race adjustments that might normally be made during practice.

That modified competition caution procedure includes:

  • Freezing the running order at the time of the caution period
  • Granting the free pass for the first car one lap down
  • No wave-around rule will be in effect for the competition caution
  • Pit road opens to the top 20, then the next 20 on the following lap
  • Each car will keep its position at the time of the caution, provided it beats the pace car off pit road
  • The pit cycle repeats, with the top 20 then next 20 allowed to pit a second time
  • Teams that do not beat the pace car off pit road will lose a lap and restart at the tail of the field; teams that pit more than twice or outside of their designated pit window will also restart at the tail of the field.
  • The lineup will be reset according to the frozen running order for the restart

The competition cautions will occur at or around the following laps:

  • May 17: Cup Series, Darlington: Lap 30
  • May 19: Xfinity Series, Darlington: Lap 15
  • May 20: Cup Series, Darlington: TBD
  • May 24: Cup Series, Charlotte: TBD
  • May 25: Xfinity Series, Charlotte: TBD
  • May 26: Gander Trucks, Charlotte: TBD
  • May 27: Cup Series, Charlotte: TBD

Xfinity, Gander Trucks lineup procedures

The Xfinity Series and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series will use random draws in part to determine starting lineups for their upcoming events without qualifying.

For the Xfinity Series’ May 19 event at Darlington and May 25 race at Charlotte:

  • Starting positions 1-12 among teams in those positions in owner points will be determined by a random draw
  • Starting positions 12-24 among teams in those positions in owner points will be determined by a random draw
  • Starting positions 25-36 among teams in those positions in owner points will be determined by a random draw
  • Starting positions 37-40 among teams in those positions in owner points will be assigned starting positions based on their order of eligibility

Pit selection for the Xfinity Series race at Darlington will be based on qualifying from the series’ most recent race, at Phoenix Raceway, which gives the first selection to the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Toyota.

The Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series will use a similar system to determine the starting lineup for its May 26 return at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Teams will draw for starting position based on groups in team owner points:

  • Starting positions 1-10 among teams in those positions in owner points
  • Starting positions 11-21 among teams in those positions in owner points
  • Starting positions 22-32 among teams in those positions in owner points
  • Starting positions 33-40 among teams in those positions in owner points, followed by a draw among new teams without owner points

The order of pit selection for the May 26 Gander Trucks event will be determined by the qualifying results from the series’ most recent race, Feb. 21 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. That means the ThorSport Racing No. 13 Ford entry of Johnny Sauter will have the first selection.

MORE: NASCAR reveals revised May schedule