Weather awards Chase Elliott New Hampshire pole

LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE - JUNE 22: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Today 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on June 22, 2024 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

NASCAR Cup Series qualifying was cancelled Saturday afternoon because of inclement weather at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Sunday’s USA Today 301 (2 p.m. ET on USA Network, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) starting lineup will instead be based on a metric including owners points, driver points, last week’s race finishing position and last week’s fastest laps.

NASCAR Cup Series championship leader, Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott will start from pole position, alongside reigning series champion, Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney.

“To be honest, I always feel like the [pole-winner’s] pit stall [choice] is more important than the starting spot just because you live with the pit box all day,” said Elliott, who is making his first start from pole this season – first since 2022.

“Your odds of leading 301 laps are slim to none but you live with that box all day long and that’s something that can help you all the way, get a late race caution or whatever and you can be right there in the hunt and that can be the difference in you coming off pit road first or third. And I think that’s a really important thing we see every weekend. Excited about that and really, I think, a team effort that earned that opportunity.

“It wasn’t a stellar lap on my end, it was just a solid effort by our group over the last two or three months to have us in that position to take advantage of the circumstances today.”

Hendrick’s William Byron, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell and Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman round out the top five on the starting grid.

Defending race winner, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. will roll off seventh in the 36-car field, hoping to earn his first victory of the 2024 season.

Spire Motorsports’ rookie Carson Hocevar and Front Row Motorsports’ Michael McDowell were fastest in an abbreviated practice session that lasted only 10 minutes Saturday mid-afternoon because of rain.