Reigning Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowki received an extra perk from his title last season and will start from the No. 1 spot at NASCAR’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday afternoon.
Heavy rain cancelled qualifying times, and instead the field was decided by 2012 point totals.
Keselowski currently sits in third place behind Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson, but that trio and their battle for the Cup has taken a backseat to NASCAR’s public spat with fourth-place Denny Hamlin.
The 33-year-old publicly criticized NASCAR’s newest car model, called “Gen-6”, after last week’s Subway 500 in Phoenix, saying the vehicle makes passing opponents much more difficult.
NASCAR issued a $25,000 fine saying Hamlin’s comments were “detrimental” to the sport, and the Joe Gibbs Racing driver responded with a refusal to pay the hefty sum and stated on his Twitter account that race officials “disrespected” him.
Hamlin will be in the No. 6 position, behind Johnson, Kasey Kahne, and Greg Biffle.
Tony Stewart took the checkered flag last year in Las Vegas, leading 127 of the 267 laps, and will start from the No. 10 position.
Coverage of the race begins at 3 p.m. Eastern time on Fox.
You can check out the top 10 in Sunday’s starting grid, with the manufacturer and car number included:
Brad Keselowski, Ford, 2
Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 15
Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 48
Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 5
Greg Biffle, Ford, 16
Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 11
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 17
Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 29
Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 14
Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 24