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September 29, 2021

Denny Hamlin lands Busch Pole for Talladega playoff race

Scm Buschpole Hamlin Talladega 16x9

Denny Hamlin earned the Busch Pole Award for Sunday’s YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET on NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

RELATED: Talladega weekend schedule | Cup Series standings

Hamlin, locked into the Round of 8 of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs after last Sunday’s victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, will start on pole for the fourth time in 2021 in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Justin Allgaier will start on pole in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet for Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Sparks 300 at Talladega (4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the second race in the Xfinity Series Playoffs’ Round of 12.

Ben Rhodes earned the top starting spot for Saturday’s Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Talladega (1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) for the second race of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs’ Round of 8.

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 Denny Hamlin 11 Joe Gibbs Racing
2 Kyle Busch 18 Joe Gibbs Racing
3 Chase Elliott 9 Hendrick Motorsports
4 Ryan Blaney 12 Team Penske
5 Kyle Larson 5 Hendrick Motorsports
6 Martin Truex Jr. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing
7 Brad Keselowski 2 Team Penske
8 Joey Logano 22 Team Penske
9 Kevin Harvick 4 Stewart-Haas Racing
10 William Byron 24 Hendrick Motorsports
11 Alex Bowman 48 Hendrick Motorsports
12 Christopher Bell 20 Joe Gibbs Racing
13 Tyler Reddick 8 Richard Childress Racing
14 Kurt Busch 1 Chip Ganassi Racing
15 Matt DiBenedetto 21 Wood Brothers Racing
16 Austin Dillon 3 Richard Childress Racing
17 Chase Briscoe 14 Stewart-Haas Racing
18 Daniel Suárez 99 Trackhouse Racing
19 Bubba Wallace 23 23XI Racing
20 Aric Almirola 10 Stewart-Haas Racing
21 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing
22 Michael McDowell 34 Front Row Motorsports
23 Ross Chastain 42 Chip Ganassi Racing
24 Chris Buescher 17 Roush Fenway Racing
25 Ryan Newman 6 Roush Fenway Racing
26 Erik Jones 43 Richard Petty Motorsports
27 Ryan Preece 37 JTG Daugherty Racing
28 Cole Custer 41 Stewart-Haas Racing
29 Corey LaJoie 7 Spire Motorsports
30 Anthony Alfredo 38 Front Row Motorsports
31 Cody Ware 51 Petty Ware Racing
32 BJ McLeod 78 Live Fast Motorsports
33 Justin Allgaier 77 Spire Motorsports
34 Josh Bilicki 52 Rick Ware Racing
35 Quin Houff 00 StarCom Racing
36 Joey Gase 53 Rick Ware Racing
37 Garrett Smithley 15 Rick Ware Racing
38 Justin Haley 16 Kaulig Racing
39 James Davison 66 Motorsports Business Management
40 Landon Cassill 96 Gaunt Brothers 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.