Chase Elliott wins Busch Pole Award for Sunday’s Darlington playoff opener

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.

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 spot Driver Car # Team
1 Chase Elliott 9 Hendrick Motorsports
2 Denny Hamlin 11 Joe Gibbs Racing
3 William Byron 24 Hendrick Motorsports
4 Alex Bowman 88 Hendrick Motorsports
5 Brad Keselowski 2 Team Penske
6 Martin Truex Jr. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing
7 Ryan Blaney 12 Team Penske
8 Kevin Harvick 4 Stewart-Haas Racing
9 Clint Bowyer 14 Stewart-Haas Racing
10 Aric Almirola 10 Stewart-Haas Racing
11 Matt DiBenedetto 21 Wood Brothers Racing
12 Austin Dillon 3 Richard Childress Racing
13 Joey Logano 22 Team Penske
14 Cole Custer 41 Stewart-Haas Racing
15 Kyle Busch 18 Joe Gibbs Racing
16 Kurt Busch 1 Chip Ganassi Racing
17 Bubba Wallace 43 Richard Petty Motorsports
18 John Hunter Nemechek 38 Front Row Motorsports
19 Michael McDowell 34 Front Row Motorsports
20 Chris Buescher 17 Roush Fenway Racing
21 Christopher Bell 95 Leavine Family Racing
22 Jimmie Johnson 48 Hendrick Motorsports
23 Brennan Poole 15 Premium Motorsports
24 Tyler Reddick 8 Richard Childress Racing
25 Ty Dillon 13 Germain Racing
26 Matt Kenseth 42 Chip Ganassi Racing
27 Corey LaJoie 32 GoFas Racing
28 Daniel Suarez 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing
29 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing
30 Erik Jones 20 Joe Gibbs Racing
31 Ryan Newman 6 Roush Fenway Racing
32 Quin Houff 00 StarCom Racing
33 Timmy Hill 66 Motorsports Business Management
34 Reed Sorenson 77 Spire Motorsports
35 Ryan Preece 37 JTG Daugherty Racing
36 James Davison 53 Rick Ware Racing
37 JJ Yeley 27 Rick Ware Racing
38 Josh Bilicki 7 Tommy Baldwin Racing
39 Joey Gase 51 Petty Ware Racing

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