For the fifth time in 10 NASCAR Cup Series races of 2020, Aric Almirola’s name has been drawn to start on the front row for a Cup race. On this occasion, Almirola will start on pole position for the second time this season. That will be case when the driver of the No. 10 Smithfield/Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang will lead the field to the green flag on Sunday, July 19, at Texas Motor Speedway for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, the 18th race of the 2020 Cup season as the series will also reach its halfway point of this year’s racing season.
Almirola is already coming off an eventful week of racing, where he finished eighth at Kentucky Speedway after leading a race-high 128 laps on July 12 and won the first stage of the All-Star Open at Bristol Motor Speedway on July 15, a victory that allowed him to transfer to the All-Star Race, where he finished ninth out of a 20-car field. He is currently ranked eighth in the regular-season standings, trailing points leader/teammate Kevin Harvick by 171 points. Nonetheless, Almirola is 133 points above the top-16 cutline in his quest to qualify for this year’s 2020 Playoffs and is coming off six consecutive races of finishing in the top 10.
Joining Almirola on the front row will be Ryan Blaney, who led a race-high 72 laps in the All-Star Race and was in position to win the event before he settled in sixth. Brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch will start on the second row in front of Kevin Harvick, who is set to make his 700th NASCAR Cup Series career start. Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin will start sixth and seventh followed by Chase Elliott, winner of this year’s All-Star Race. Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. will round out the top-10 starting positions followed by Matt DiBenedetto and Alex Bowman.
Starting in positions 13-26 are Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Bubba Wallace, Ryan Newman, Chris Buescher, Clint Bowyer, William Byron, rookie Cole Custer, Jimmie Johnson, Austin Dillon, Matt Kenseth, Erik Jones, rookie Tyler Reddick, Ryan Preece and rookie Quin Houff.
Starting in positions 27-40 are Garrett Smithley, rookie John Hunter Nemechek, Gray Gaulding, Ty Dillon, J.J. Yeley, rookie Brennan Poole, rookie Christopher Bell, Michael McDowell, Joey Gase, Corey LaJoie, Daniel Suarez, Timmy Hill, B.J. McLeod and Reed Sorenson.
Catch the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on July 19 at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.