The starting lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Kansas Speedway was set by applying the statistical formula NASCAR is using for the majority of Cup races in 2021.
Drivers’ starting positions for the Hollywood Casino 400, the second race in the Round of 8 and the eighth race of the 2021 Cup Series playoffs (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), were based on four factors:
- Driver’s finishing position from the previous race (25 percent)
- Car owner’s finishing position from the previous race (25 percent)
- Team owner points ranking (35 percent)
- Fastest lap from the previous race (15 percent)
NASCAR is conducting qualifying for just eight of the 36 Cup Series points-paying races in the 2021 season. Seven of those races have already been run; the one remaining race with qualifying is the season-ending Championship 4 race at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 7. NASCAR cut back on qualifying to limit time spent at the track and reduce costs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Below is the starting lineup, which was set without qualifying, for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race on Kansas Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval.
Who won the pole for the NASCAR race at Kansas?
Kyle Larson was awarded the pole for Sunday’s playoff race based on NASCAR’s formula. The Hendrick Motorsports driver is coming off a win in the Round of 8 opening race at Texas Motor Speedway on Oct. 17. The victory was his eighth of the season and his third of the playoffs. He has won in each of the first three rounds.
MORE: Results from Texas playoff race
More importantly, the win automatically qualified him for the Championship 4 race. Larson will compete for the Cup Series championship on Nov. 7 at Phoenix Raceway.
Ryan Blaney, who is second in the playoff standings, will start second on on Sunday. The Team Penske driver finished sixth at Texas in the opening Round of 8 race.
NASCAR Cup playoff standings
Kyle Larson is atop the standings but is already in the Championship 4 thanks to his win at Texas. That leaves three open spots and just two more races in the Round of 8. Ryan Blaney is second, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.
Defending series champion Chase Elliott is the first driver out heading into Sunday. He trails Busch by eight points and Hamlin by nine.
MORE: Roundup of the Elliott-Harvick feud
A playoff driver who wins a race in the Round of 8 automatically qualifies for the Championship 4 race Nov. 7 at Phoenix Raceway.
|7||Martin Truex Jr.||4041|
x-Advanced to Championship 4 race.
NASCAR starting lineup at Kansas
NASCAR used a mathematical formula to set the starting lineup for Sunday’s playoff race at Kansas Speedway, the Hollywood Casino 400. Forty cars were entered, which gives the race a full field. Playoff drivers are denoted by a “P” next to their names.
Per NASCAR’s playoff rules, the top eight spots in the field went to the eight remaining playoff drivers, but the starting order was based on the mathematical formula NASCAR has used for the majority of its races this season.
|Start pos.||Driver||Car No.||Team|
|1||P-Kyle Larson||5||Hendrick Motorsports|
|2||P-Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske|
|3||P-Brad Keselowski||2||Team Penske|
|4||P-Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|5||P-Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports|
|6||P-Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|7||P-Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|8||P-Joey Logano||22||Team Penske|
|9||William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports|
|10||Christopher Bell||20||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|11||Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|12||Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing|
|13||Kurt Busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|14||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing|
|15||Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing|
|16||Daniel Suarez||99||Trackhouse Racing|
|17||Erik Jones||43||Richard Petty Motorsports|
|18||Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports|
|19||Chase Briscoe||14||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|20||Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|21||Chris Buescher||17||Roush Fenway Racing|
|22||Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|23||Corey LaJoie||7||Spire Motorsports|
|24||Ross Chastain||42||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|25||Alex Bowman||48||Hendrick Motorsports|
|26||BJ McLeod||78||Live Fast Motorsports|
|27||Bubba Wallace||23||23XI Racing|
|28||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|29||Anthony Alfredo||38||Front Row Motorsports|
|30||Josh Bilicki||52||Rick Ware Racing|
|31||Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing|
|32||Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|33||Justin Haley||77||Spire Motorsports|
|34||Ryan Ellis||15||Rick Ware Racing|
|35||Quin Houff||00||StarCom Racing|
|36||Cody Ware||51||Petty Ware Racing|
|37||Chad Finchum||66||Motorsports Business Management|
|38||David Starr||13||Motorsports Business Management|
|39||Joey Gase||53||Rick Ware Racing|
|40||Parker Kilgerman||96||Gaunt Brothers Racing|