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August 4, 2021

Brad Keselowski to start from Cup Series pole position at Watkins Glen

Brad Keselowski has won the pole position for Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the NASCAR Cup Series’ first race back after a two-week break. He leads a 1-2-3 sweep of Team Penske drivers in the top starting spots.

Keselowski’s No. 2 Team Penske Ford will take the green flag first at Watkins Glen International, which is back on the schedule after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the series’ planned visit there in 2020. Keselowski is seeking the first road-course win of his Cup Series career.

LINEUPS: Cup Series | Xfinity Series | Camping World Truck Series

Teammate Joey Logano is set to line up second in the No. 22 Ford, and Ryan Blaney is scheduled to start third in another Penske entry, the No. 12 Mustang.

Justin Allgaier, a three-time winner on road courses in the Xfinity Series, won the pole for Saturday’s Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey 200 (4 p.m. ET, CNBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. Austin Hill, the Camping World Truck Series’ most recent winner, is on the pole for Saturday’s United Rentals 176 (12:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) in the No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota.

RELATED: Watkins Glen schedule | 2021 Cup Series standings

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 Sunday’s Cup Series race below.

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

Practice and qualifying are tentatively scheduled for eight Cup Series races this year. Two races remain with Busch Pole Qualifying on the schedule – Aug. 15 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course and the season-ending championship race Nov. 7 at Phoenix Raceway.