Let me attempt to explain this again. There are two separate lists. There are cars that are guaranteed a spot no matter what happens. There are 35 of those cars.
Then there are the cars that will rely on speed or the Gatorade Duel. There will be 13 or so of those cars. Eight of those cars will get into the field. They will get in by speed, finish in the Duel races, or by a past champion's provisional.
There look to be three cars that will be eligible for the provisional. Those cars will have Bobby Labonte, Bill Elliott, and possibly Terry Labonte behind the wheel. Terry is not a lock to run, but looks to have some sort of ride in the works. Bobby will have be first in the pecking order, since he was the 2000 Cup Series champion. The champions since then have been Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart again, and Jimmie Johnson four times in a row. All of those guys will have guranteed spots into the field.
Terry Labonte would be next since he won back in 1996. Bill Elliott is the only other guy who would need it since he won back in 1988. At least one of those guys will get a spot into the field, but we have to keep them separate from the other 35 since they are not officially into the field yet.
The top three cars in speed from qualifying will get into the field no matter what happens. If one of the top three cars in that group is on the Front Row, then the next two highest speeds are automatically into the field. If both are, then only the next highest speed is automatically into the field.
The top two cars of the second group in each Duel are automatically into the field. If any of the cars in the top three on speed in the second group finish in the top two, then the next fastest speed among the group is into the field. It proceeds until eight cars are locked into the field, including past champion provisionals. That is about as clear as I can explain it. I am sure that there will be questions about it. I welcome any that you may have.
Opinions expressed in blogs are those of the individual bloggers and do not necessarily represent the views of racing-reference.info.