Chase Elliott won the Busch Pole Award for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs opener at Darlington Raceway (6 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The Cook Out Southern 500 is a crown-jewel event and will highlight throwback weekend.
The lineup was determined using NASCAR’s new competition-based formula, which is a total number based on the previous event: 15% of a fastest lap time position, 25% of the driver’s final race finish position, 25% of the owner’s final race position and 35% of the Owner Points position. Any ties will be broken by the Rule Book.
Denny Hamlin will join the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet on the front row in his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
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 second in the last race (2 x 0.5), is fifth in owner points (5 x 0.35) and his most recent fastest lap ranked third in the field (3 x 0.15). His metric total is 3.2. Hamlin, meanwhile, had a metric total of 3.85 to claim second; he finished third Sunday (3 x 0.5), is second in owner points (2 x 0.35) and scored the 11th-fastest lap of the race (11 x 0.15).