The starting lineup for Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway was set by applying the statistical formula NASCAR is using for the majority of Cup races in 2021.
Drivers’ starting positions for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race, the third race of the Cup Series playoffs and the final race in the Round of 16 (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN5, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), were based on four factors:
- Driver’s finishing position from the previous race (25 percent)
- Car owner’s finishing position from the previous race (25 percent)
- Team owner points ranking (35 percent)
- Fastest lap from the previous race (15 percent)
NASCAR is conducting qualifying for just eight of the 36 Cup Series points races in the 2021 season. Seven of those races have already been run; the one remaining race with qualifying is the season-ending Championship 4 race at Phoenix Raceway in November.
Below is the starting lineup, which was set without qualifying, for Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff elimination race on Bristol Motor Speedway’s 0.533-mile oval.
Who won the pole for the NASCAR race at Bristol?
Martin Truex Jr. was assigned the pole position based on NASCAR’s mathematical formula. Truex is locked into the Round of 12 after his win last weekend at Richmond. He finished fourth in the playoff opener at Darlington. Overall, he is third in the points standings.
Next to him will be his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, who won at Darlington and finished second at Richmond. He’s second in points.
Behind Truex and Hamlin will be Joey Logano and Chase Elliott in third and fourth, respectively. They will lead the 13 drivers who will be racing for playoff spots Saturday night.
Under NASCAR’s playoff rules, the top 16 spots in Saturday’s field went to the 16 playoff drivers, but the starting order was based on the mathematical formula NASCAR has used for the majority of its races this season.
NASCAR Cup playoff standings
Three drivers are already locked into the Round of 12 heading into the Bristol race. Denny Hamlin was the first when he won the playoff opener at Darlington. Kyle Larson (clinched on points) and Martin Truex Jr. (race winner) followed in the next race at Richmond.
The bottom four non-winning drivers after the Bristol race will be eliminated from the playoffs. The remaining 12 drivers will advance to the Round of 12, which will begin Sept. 26 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
|3||x-Martin Truex Jr.||2113|
x-Clinched berth in Round of 12.
NASCAR starting lineup at Bristol
NASCAR used a mathematical formula to set the starting lineup for Saturday’s playoff elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway, the Bass Pro Shops Night Race. Thirty-eight cars were entered for the race. Playoff drivers are denoted by “P-” next to their names.
|Start pos.||Driver||Car No.||Team|
|1||P-Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|2||P-Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|3||P-Joey Logano||22||Team Penske|
|4||P-Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports|
|5||P-Kyle Larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports|
|6||P-Christopher Bell||20||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|7||P-Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske|
|8||P-Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|9||P-Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|10||P-Brad Keselowski||2||Team Penske|
|11||P-Alex Bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports|
|12||P-Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|13||P-Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing|
|14||P-William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports|
|15||P-Kurt Busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|16||P-Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports|
|17||Ross Chastain||42||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|18||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing|
|19||Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing|
|20||Chase Briscoe||14||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|21||Daniel Suarez||99||Trackhouse Racing|
|22||Erik Jones||43||Richard Petty Motorsports|
|23||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|24||Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing|
|25||Chris Buescher||17||Roush Fenway Racing|
|26||Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|27||Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|28||Bubba Wallace||23||23XI Racing|
|29||Justin Haley||77||Spire Motorsports|
|30||Anthony Alfredo||38||Front Row Motorsports|
|31||Corey LaJoie||7||Spire Motorsports|
|32||BJ McLeod||78||Live Fast Motorsports|
|33||Josh Bilicki||52||Rick Ware Racing|
|34||Quin Houff||00||StarCom Racing|
|35||JJ Yeley||51||Petty Ware Racing|
|36||Garrett Smithley||53||Rick Ware Racing|
|37||James Davison||15||Rick Ware Racing|
|38||David Starr||66||Motorsports Business Management|