Ryan Blaney captured the Busch Pole Award for Sunday’s Cook Out Southern 500 (6 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs’ Round of 16 opener at Darlington Raceway.
Blaney will start his No. 12 Team Penske Ford from the first spot for the first time this season, in search of his first Darlington victory. Blaney, a playoff driver, is coming off back-to-back wins to close out the regular season.
Daniel Hemric claimed the pole for Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200 (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM) in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, while Sheldon Creed, playoff driver of the No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet, earned the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series In It To Win It 200 (1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM).
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 night’s Cup Series race below.
|1||Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske|
|2||Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|3||Kurt Busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|4||Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports|
|5||Alex Bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports|
|6||Kyle Larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports|
|7||Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing|
|8||Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|9||Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|10||Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|11||Joey Logano||22||Team Penske|
|12||Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|13||Christopher Bell||20||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|14||William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports|
|15||Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports|
|16||Brad Keselowski||2||Team Penske|
|17||Bubba Wallace||23||23XI Racing|
|18||Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|19||Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing|
|20||Justin Haley||77||Spire Motorsports|
|21||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing|
|22||Erik Jones||43||Richard Petty Motorsports|
|23||Ross Chastain||42||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|24||Chase Briscoe||14||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|25||Corey LaJoie||7||Spire Motorsports|
|26||Daniel Suarez||99||TrackHouse Racing|
|27||BJ McLeod||78||Live Fast Motorsports|
|28||Josh Bilicki||52||Rick Ware Racing|
|29||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|30||Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing|
|31||Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|32||Anthony Alfredo||38||Front Row Motorsports|
|33||Cody Ware||51||Petty Ware Racing|
|34||Chris Buescher||17||Roush Fenway Racing|
|35||Joey Gase||15||Rick Ware Racing|
|36||James Davison||53||Rick Ware Racing|
|37||Quin Houff||00||StarCom Racing|
Practice and qualifying are tentatively scheduled for eight Cup Series races this year. Just one race remains with Busch Pole Qualifying on the schedule — the season-ending championship race Nov. 7 at Phoenix Raceway.