The NASCAR season is returning on May 17 at Darlington Raceway, months after being paused due to the coronavirus pandemic. The races will not be held exactly as they were pre-quarantine, as there will be no fans present and qualifying will look different. 

Qualifying and practice will not occur during many races to limit the amount of time crews spend on the track as a safety precaution against the coronavirus.

NASCAR officials answered many of the questions people had in regards to staring lineups and pit-selection procedures in a release on Tuesday. 

The NASCAR Cup Series will see three out of four events held without Busch Pole Qualifying to determine a starting lineup. The Coca-Cola 600 taking place on May 24 will be the only event with a timed trial.

NASCAR's statement explained how lineups will be set when there is no qualifier.

Darlington Raceway starting lineups and pit selection:

The May 17 event at the Darlington Raceway will have a random draw for starting positions. 

The statement read:

  • 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 pit-stall selection for this race will be based on "character team owner points, then open team owner points."

The next Cup Series event will take place at the same location on May 20. That event will use the previous race for the starting lineups.

The statement read:

  • 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 be inverted for the start of the May 20 race; any new entries will be placed at the tail of the field

Pit selection this race will be determined by the results of the May 17 event.

Charlotte Motor Speedway starting lineup and pit selection:

When NASCAR moves to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, they announced the May 24 race starting lineup will be determined by "same-day qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600." The pit-selection will be determined by qualifying.

The May 27 race starting lineup will be "an inversion of positions 1-20, then positions 21-40 from the Coca-Cola 600 results." The pit-selection for this race will be determined by the Coca-Cola 600 results.

Modified competition caution process:

For events with no practice, the statement included a bulleted list on the altered procedure:

  • 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

These cautions will take place at various times during races, with the first Darlington Raceway Cup Series race on May 17 having a caution on Lap 30 and a caution on Lap 15 during the Xfinity Series race taking place at the Darlington Raceway on May 19. 

The other series' caution times are still to be determined.

Xfinity Series starting lineup and pit selection:

Similar to the Cup Series, events without practice will start with random draws to determine starting lineups. 

For the May 19 and May 25 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the starting positions are as follows:

  • 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.

NASCAR also wrote, "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."