Chase Elliott won the Busch Pole Award for Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App), the first of two in a weekend doubleheader.
The lineup was determined using NASCAR’s new competition-based formula, which takes into account finishing position from the previous race (weighted 50%), ranking in team owner points (35%) and the fastest lap from the previous race (15%).
After crunching the numbers, Elliott in the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet is this week’s Busch Pole Award winner and will lead the field to the green flag for this week’s 311-lap race. Denny Hamlin, in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, will join him on the front row, starting P2 for the second consecutive race.
In the majority of national series events since NASCAR‘s May return, starting lineups have been set by random draws. The new structure draws on performance from both individual races and season-long results, rather than leaving a range of starting spots up to chance.
An example of how the math works: Elliott finished first in the last race (1 x 0.5), is fourth in owner points (1 x 0.35) and his fastest lap in Sunday’s race at the Daytona Road Course ranked first in the field(1 x .15). His metric total is 2.05. That was enough to beat Hamlin, whose metric total was 2.6; he finished second last Sunday to Elliott (2 x 0.5), is second in owner points (2 x 0.35) and scored the sixth-fastest lap of the race (6 x 0.15).
The difference? Elliott’s first-place run.
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Clint Bowyer make up the second row, powered by their finishes of third and sixth, respectively, at Daytona.