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September 15, 2021

Martin Truex Jr. nabs Busch Pole Award for Bristol playoff race

Martin Truex Jr. captured the Busch Pole Award for Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs’ Round of 16 elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

RELATED: Complete schedule for Bristol | Betting odds

Truex will start his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota from the first spot in search of his first Bristol victory. Truex, a playoff driver, is coming off a win at Richmond Raceway to lock into the Round of 12.

Noah Gragson, fresh off back-to-back wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, claimed the pole for Friday night’s Food City 300 (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN and SiriusXM) in the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. Sheldon Creed, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series reigning champion and a winner of back-to-back playoff races earned the pole for his No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet for Thursday night’s UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics (9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM). The Truck race is the elimination race for the Round of 10 in that series.

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 night’s Cup Series race below.

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

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.