Potential tweaks to starting lineup process considered for NASCAR Playoffs

Cars Lined Up

NASCAR officials are considering a modification for how the starting lineup is determined once the playoffs start in September, Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller said Monday morning on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

With no practice or qualifying scheduled because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, starting lineups at the national series level have been determined by a random draw. For the NASCAR Cup Series, teams that are ranked first through 12th in owner points draw for starting spots 1-12. Same for 13th-24th and 25th-36th, with open, non-chartered teams rounding out the field. The process is similar in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series.

If NASCAR teams are not able to qualify on-track by the start of the postseason due to safety protocols — Miller noted NASCAR has committed to no practice and qualifying through Dover, which is Aug. 21-23 — NASCAR would likely lump all 16 playoff teams together as one entire group when conducting its lineup draw.

“We’re kind of reviewing now what would be the right thing to do in the playoffs if we can’t have qualifying,” Miller said. “Maybe still some kind of a draw, but obviously, probably something that encompasses the playoff cars in one lot and the rest of the field in another. Haven’t really gotten there yet, but we know that once the playoffs come we may have to adjust the way we draw if we aren’t practicing and qualifying.”

As a working example, the NASCAR Cup Series field opens the postseason with the Round of 16. Rather than have the top 12 cars in one draw and four playoff cars in the next bucket, all cars that qualified for the playoffs would be drawn together for starting positions 1-16.