Kevin Harvick sped his way to the Busch Pole Award for Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series regular-season finale at Daytona International Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App) following a sterling performance in the second race of a Dover 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%) — and Harvick placed first in all categories.
Martin Truex Jr., in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, will join him on the front row after a strong weekend at Dover that included runner-up finishes in both NASCAR Cup Series races.
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: Harvick finished first in the last race (1 x 0.5), is first in owner points (1 x 0.35) and his fastest lap in Sunday’s race at Dover ranked first in the field (1 x 0.15). His metric total is a perfect 1.00. Truex Jr., meanwhile, had a metric total of 3.9 to claim second; he finished second Sunday to Harvick (2 x 0.5), is fourth in owner points (4 x 0.35) and scored the 10th-fastest lap of the race (10 x 0.15).
Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, widely considered two of the best superspeedway racers in the garage, will line up third and fourth, respectively. Meanwhile, Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Jimmie Johnson — in the thick of the playoff hunt — will both start inside the top 10 at sixth and seventh, respectively.