NASCAR Sunday: Chase Elliott sets on the poll for Darlington playoff opener

By:Staff Report 

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Chase Elliott won the Busch Pole Award for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs opener at Darlington Raceway (6 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The Cook Out Southern 500 is a crown-jewel event and will highlight throwback weekend.

The lineup was determined using NASCAR’s new competition-based formula, which is a total number based on the previous event: 15% of a fastest lap time position, 25% of the driver’s final race finish position, 25% of the owner’s final race position and 35% of the Owner Points position. Any ties will be broken by the Rule Book.

RELATED: Learn more about the new lineup formula | In-depth look at playoff field

Denny Hamlin will join the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet on the front row in his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

In the majority of national series events since NASCAR’s May return, starting lineups have been set by random draws. The new structure draws on performance from both individual races and season-long results, rather than leaving a range of starting spots up to chance.

An example of how the math works: Elliott finished second in the last race (2 x 0.5), is fifth in owner points (5 x 0.35) and his most recent fastest lap ranked third in the field (3 x 0.15). His metric total is 3.2. Hamlin, meanwhile, had a metric total of 3.85 to claim second; he finished third Sunday (3 x 0.5), is second in owner points (2 x 0.35) and scored the 11th-fastest lap of the race (11 x 0.15).

See the full starting lineup for Sunday’s race below.

Starting spotDriverCar #Team
1Chase Elliott9Hendrick Motorsports
2Denny Hamlin11Joe Gibbs Racing
3William Byron24Hendrick Motorsports
4Alex Bowman88Hendrick Motorsports
5Brad Keselowski2Team Penske
6Martin Truex Jr.19Joe Gibbs Racing
7Ryan Blaney12Team Penske
8Kevin Harvick4Stewart-Haas Racing
9Clint Bowyer14Stewart-Haas Racing
10Aric Almirola10Stewart-Haas Racing
11Matt DiBenedetto21Wood Brothers Racing
12Austin Dillon3Richard Childress Racing
13Joey Logano22Team Penske
14Cole Custer41Stewart-Haas Racing
15Kyle Busch18Joe Gibbs Racing
16Kurt Busch1Chip Ganassi Racing
17Bubba Wallace43Richard Petty Motorsports
18John Hunter Nemechek38Front Row Motorsports
19Michael McDowell34Front Row Motorsports
20Chris Buescher17Roush Fenway Racing
21Christopher Bell95Leavine Family Racing
22Jimmie Johnson48Hendrick Motorsports
23Brennan Poole15Premium Motorsports
24Tyler Reddick8Richard Childress Racing
25Ty Dillon13Germain Racing
26Matt Kenseth42Chip Ganassi Racing
27Corey LaJoie32GoFas Racing
28Daniel Suarez96Gaunt Brothers Racing
29Ricky Stenhouse Jr.47JTG Daugherty Racing
30Erik Jones20Joe Gibbs Racing
31Ryan Newman6Roush Fenway Racing
32Quin Houff00StarCom Racing
33Timmy Hill66Motorsports Business Management
34Ross Chastain*77Spire Motorsports
35Ryan Preece37JTG Daugherty Racing
36James Davison53Rick Ware Racing
37JJ Yeley27Rick Ware Racing
38Josh Bilicki7Tommy Baldwin Racing
39Joey Gase51Petty Ware Racing

* Driver change