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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

NASCAR lineup at Martinsville: Starting order, pole for playoff race without qualifyinq

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The starting lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Martinsville Speedway was set by applying the statistical formula NASCAR is using for the majority of Cup races in 2021.

Drivers’ starting positions for the Xfinity 500, the final race in the Round of 8 and the ninth race of the 2021 Cup Series playoffs (2 p.m. ET; NBC, TSN, MRN, 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-paying 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 on Nov. 7. NASCAR cut back on qualifying to limit time spent at the track and reduce costs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below is the starting lineup, which was set without qualifying, for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race on Martinsville Speedway’s 0.526-mile oval.

MORE: Watch Sunday’s NASCAR race live with fuboTV (free 7-day trial)

Who won the pole for the NASCAR race at Martinsville?

Stop us if you’ve already heard this one: Kyle Larson is on the pole for Sunday’s race. The playoff points leader was awarded the top spot for a third consecutive time following his win at Kansas, which was his third playoff win in as many weekends. He is the only Round of 8 driver who’s already in the Championship 4 heading into the Martinsville eliminator.

MORE: Kansas race results, highlights

Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott will line up next to him on the starting grid. Elliott finished a distant second to Larson at Kansas after his car made contact with the outer wall late in the race.

Just behind Larson and Elliott will be Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. in third and fourth, respectively. The starting spot is a big boost to Truex, who is out of a playoff spot by three points coming into the race. 

NASCAR Cup playoff standings

The bubble drivers figure to produce the most drama Sunday. Positions 4 through 7 are separated by six points. Kyle Busch is in the No. 4 spot but he’s just one point ahead of Ryan Blaney, the first driver out at the moment. The live standings will be volatile.

Elliott (34 points) and Hamlin (32 points) come into the race with sizable leads over Blaney as they sit in second and third in the standings, respectively. 

ELLIOTT vs. HARVICK: Rundown of their feud

Aside from the closeness of the standings, there’s another reason the four drivers below can have hope: A playoff driver who wins a race in the Round of 8 automatically qualifies for the Championship 4 race Nov. 7 at Phoenix Raceway. Problem is, only Larson has won a race thus far in the Round of 8.

Pos. Driver Points
1 x-Kyle Larson 4181
2 Chase Elliott 4107
3 Denny Hamlin 4105
4 Kyle Busch 4074
5 Ryan Blaney 4073
6 Martin Truex Jr. 4071
7 Brad Keselowski 4068
8 Joey Logano 4048

x-Advanced to Championship 4 race.

NASCAR starting lineup at Martinsville

NASCAR used a mathematical formula to set the starting lineup for Sunday’s playoff race at Martinsville Speedway, the Xfinity 500. Thirty-eight cars were entered, two fewer than the number for a full field. Playoff drivers are denoted by a “P” next to their names. 

Per NASCAR’s playoff rules, the top eight spots in the field went to the eight remaining playoff drivers, but the starting order was based on the mathematical formula NASCAR has used for the majority of its races this season.

Start pos. Driver Car No. Team
1 P-Kyle Larson 5 Hendrick Motorsports
2 P-Chase Elliott 9 Hendrick Motorsports
3 P-Denny Hamlin 11 Joe Gibbs Racing
4 P-Martin Truex Jr. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing
5 P-Joey Logano 22 Team Penske
6 P-Brad Keselowski 2 Team Penske
7 P-Kyle Busch 18 Joe Gibbs Racing
8 P-Ryan Blaney 12 Team Penske
9 Kevin Harvick 4 Stewart-Haas Racing
10 Kurt Busch 1 Chip Ganassi Racing
11 William Byron 24 Hendrick Motorsports
12 Christopher Bell 20 Joe Gibbs Racing
13 Alex Bowman 48 Hendrick Motorsports
14 Austin Dillon 3 Richard Childress Racing
15 Chris Buescher 17 Roush Fenway Racing
16 Ross Chastain 42 Chip Ganassi Racing
17 Bubba Wallace 23 23XI Racing
18 Tyler Reddick 8 Richard Childress Racing
19 Michael McDowell 34 Front Row Motorsports
20 Daniel Suarez 99 TrackHouse Racing
21 Matt DiBenedetto 21 Wood Brothers Racing
22 Chase Briscoe 14 Stewart-Haas Racing
23 Aric Almirola 10 Stewart-Haas Racing
24 Cole Custer 41 Stewart-Haas Racing
25 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing
26 Ryan Preece 37 JTG Daugherty Racing
27 Ryan Newman 6 Roush Fenway Racing
28 Erik Jones 43 Richard Petty Motorsports
29 Corey LaJoie 7 Spire Motorsports
30 BJ McLeod 78 Live Fast Motorsports
31 Cody Ware 51 Petty Ware Racing
32 Anthony Alfredo 38 Front Row Motorsports
33 Josh Bilicki 52 Rick Ware Racing
34 Joey Gase 53 Rick Ware Racing
35 Justin Haley 77 Spire Motorsports
36 Quin Houff 00 StarCom Racing
37 Garrett Smithley 15 Rick Ware Racing
38 Timmy Hill 66 Motorsports Business Management





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