Kyle Larson snags Busch Pole for Pocono’s Cup Series opener

Kyle Larson has won the Busch Pole Award for Saturday’s Pocono Organics CBD 325 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports Live, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the first NASCAR Cup Series event in a weekend doubleheader for the tour at Pocono Raceway.

RELATED: Pocono weekend schedule | Drivers to win three races in a row | Cup Series standings

Larson’s No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet has started first in three of the last four points-paying Cup Series events. He also opened the NASCAR All-Star Race from the pole position, taking the No. 1 starting spot off a random draw. Larson will be vying for his fourth consecutive Cup Series points win in Saturday’s 325-miler.

The lineup for Sunday’s Cup Series’ Explore the Pocono Mountains 350 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports Live, MRN, SiriusXM) will be determined after the finishing order from Saturday’s event is official. The top 20 finishers from Saturday’s Cup race will be inverted for Sunday’s start, and Sunday’s starters from 21st place on back will grid in order of their Saturday finish.

Harrison Burton won the pole for Sunday’s Pocono Green 225 (noon ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports Live, MRN, SiriusXM) in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, and Todd Gilliland is on the pole for Saturday’s CRC Brakleen 150 (noon ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) in the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford.

As NASCAR adapted to COVID-19 protocols last season, practice and qualifying were eliminated at a majority of national-series events to limit at-track time, exposure and to cut race weekend costs. To determine starting lineups, competition officials used grouped draws, added inversions for weekend doubleheaders, and eventually adopted a performance-metrics formula. That metrics format remains in place this season, drawing on performance from both individual races and season-long results.

NASCAR’s metrics formula for 2021 weighs:

  • 25 percent: Driver’s finishing position from the previous race
  • 25 percent: Car owner’s finishing position from the previous race
  • 35 percent: Team owner points ranking
  • 15 percent: Fastest lap from the previous race

See the full lineup for Saturday’s Cup Series race below.

Start pos.
Driver Car # Team
1 Kyle Larson 5 Hendrick Motorsports
2 William Byron 24 Hendrick Motorsports
3 Kevin Harvick 4 Stewart-Haas Racing
4 Joey Logano 22 Team Penske
5 Kyle Busch 18 Joe Gibbs Racing
6 Ross Chastain 42 Chip Ganassi Racing
7 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing
8 Kurt Busch 1 Chip Ganassi Racing
9 Christopher Bell 20 Joe Gibbs Racing
10 Denny Hamlin 11 Joe Gibbs Racing
11 Aric Almirola 10 Stewart-Haas Racing
12 Austin Dillon 3 Richard Childress Racing
13 Alex Bowman 48 Hendrick Motorsports
14 Daniel Suarez 99 Trackhouse Racing Team
15 Martin Truex Jr. 19  Joe Gibbs Racing
16 Tyler Reddick 8 Richard Childress Racing
17 Michael McDowell 34 Front Row Motorsports
18 Brad Keselowski 2 Team Penske
19 Ryan Newman 6 Roush Fenway Racing
20 Bubba Wallace 23 23XI Racing
21 Matt DiBenedetto 21 Wood Brothers Racing
22 Erik Jones 43 Richard Petty Motorsports
23 Corey LaJoie 7 Spire Motorsports
24 Anthony Alfredo 38 Front Row Motorsports
25 Chris Buescher 17 Roush Fenway Racing
26 Cole Custer 41 Stewart-Haas Racing
27 Ryan Blaney 12 Team Penske
28 Chase Briscoe 14 Stewart-Haas Racing
29 Chase Elliott 9 Hendrick Motorsports
30 Garrett Smithley 53 Rick Ware Racing
31 Ryan Preece 37 JTG Daugherty Racing
32 BJ McLeod 78 Live Fast Motorsports
33 Josh Bilicki 52 Rick Ware Racing
34 Justin Haley 77 Spire Motorsports
35 Cody Ware 51 Petty Ware Racing
36 James Davison 15 Rick Ware Racing
37 Quin Houff 00 StarCom Racing
38 Timmy Hill 66 Motorsports Business Management

Practice and qualifying are tentatively scheduled for eight Cup Series races this year. Aric Almirola was the most recent Busch Pole Award winner through qualifying, taking his third career Cup Series pole for last weekend’s event at Nashville Superspeedway.

The next race with time trials scheduled is the July 4 event at Road America, which will host the Cup Series for the first time since 1956.