The starting lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Charlotte 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 Bank of America ROVAL 400, the sixth race of the 2021 Cup Series playoffs and the last race in the Round of 12 (2 p.m. ET; NBC, TSN, TSN5, 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.
Below is the starting lineup, which was set without qualifying, for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s 2.28-mile road course, which incorporates most of the main track’s 1.5-mile oval.
Who won the pole for the NASCAR race at Charlotte?
Denny Hamlin, the only driver who has clinched a spot in the Round of 8, will start on the pole. Hamlin was also on the pole for last weekend’s rain-delayed race at Talladega. He locked himself into the Round of 8 with a win at Las Vegas in the first race of the Round of 12.
Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski will be beside Hamlin on the starting grid. Keselowski was challenging Bubba Wallace for the lead at Talladega on Monday before a late caution and then rain ended the race early. Keselowski wound up finishing second to Wallace.
MORE: NASCAR playoffs, explained
The second row will be Keselowski’s teammate Joey Logano in third and Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Christopher Bell in fourth.
Per NASCAR’s playoff rules, the top 12 spots in the field went to the 12 remaining 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
Denny Hamlin moved into the lead in the playoff points standings with a seventh-place finish at Talladega. He passed Kyle Larson, who dropped to second after a 37th-place finish brought on by a wreck. Larson also lost a lot of his cushion between his place and the playoff cut line. He’ll enter Sunday 22 points ahead of ninth-place driver Kevin Harvick.
MORE: Wallace reflects on becoming 2nd Black winner in NASCAR Cup Series
The playoff bubble has a lot of pressure on it after Talladega. The difference between sixth place (Ryan Blaney) and ninth (Harvick) is just 15 points. Between the bunched standings, the fact that 11 of the 12 drivers are still fighting for a Round of 8 spot and the Roval’s history of wrecks, Sunday promises more chaos before NASCAR reduces the playoff field by four drivers.
|5||Martin Truex Jr.||3095|
x-Clinched berth in the Round of 8.
NASCAR starting lineup at Charlotte
NASCAR used a mathematical formula to set the starting lineup for Sunday’s playoff race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Bank of America ROVAL 400. Thirty-nine cars were entered for the race, which is one short of a full field. Playoff drivers are denoted by “P-.”
|Start pos.||Driver||Car No.||Team|
|1||P-Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|2||P-Brad Keselowski||2||Team Penske|
|3||P-Joey Logano||22||Team Penske|
|4||P-Christopher Bell||20||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|5||P-Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|6||P-Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske|
|7||P-Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|8||P-Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports|
|9||P-Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|10||P-Kyle Larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports|
|11||P-William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports|
|12||P-Alex Bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports|
|13||Kurt Busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|14||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing|
|15||Bubba Wallace||23||23XI Racing|
|16||Chris Buescher||17||Roush Fenway Racing|
|17||Erik Jones||43||Richard Petty Motorsports|
|18||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|19||Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports|
|20||Anthony Alfredo||38||Front Row Motorsports|
|21||Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|22||Chase Briscoe||14||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|23||Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|24||Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing|
|25||Daniel Suarez||99||Trackhouse Racing|
|26||Corey LaJoie||7||Spire Motorsports|
|27||Ross Chastain||42||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|28||Quin Houff||00||StarCom Racing|
|29||Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing|
|30||Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing|
|31||Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|32||Cody Ware||51||Petty Ware Racing|
|33||AJ Allmendinger||16||Kaulig Racing|
|34||Garrett Smithley||53||Rick Ware Racing|
|35||Scott Heckert||78||Live Fast Motorsports|
|36||Joey Hand||52||Rick Ware Racing|
|37||Josh Bilicki||15||Rick Ware Racing|
|38||Justin Haley||77||Spire Motorsports|
|39||Timmy Hill||66||Motorsports Business Management|