October 22, 2021

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NASCAR lineup at Charlotte: Starting order, pole for Sunday’s playoff race without qualifying

NASCAR lineup at Charlotte: Starting order, pole for Sunday's playoff race without qualifying

NASCAR lineup at Charlotte: Starting order, pole for Sunday’s playoff race without qualifying

Information about NASCAR lineup at Charlotte: Starting order, pole for Sunday’s playoff race without qualifying

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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.

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

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.  

Pos. Driver Points
1 x-Denny Hamlin 3116
2 Kyle Larson 3097
3 Joey Logano 3096
4 Brad Keselowski 3095
5 Martin Truex Jr. 3095
6 Ryan Blaney 3090
7 Chase Elliott 3084
8 Kyle Busch 3084
9 Kevin Harvick 3075
10 Christopher Bell 3056
11 William Byron 3040
12 Alex Bowman 3032

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

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