NASCAR lineup at Bristol: Starting order, pole for Saturday’s playoff race without qualifying

The starting lineup for Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway was set by applying the statistical formula NASCAR is using for the majority of Cup races in 2021.

Drivers’ starting positions for the Bass Pro Shops Night Race, the third race of the Cup Series playoffs and the final race in the Round of 16 (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN5, PRN, 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 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 in November.

Below is the starting lineup, which was set without qualifying, for Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff elimination race on Bristol Motor Speedway’s 0.533-mile oval.

MORE: Watch Saturday’s NASCAR race live with fuboTV (free 7-day trial)

Who won the pole for the NASCAR race at Bristol?

Martin Truex Jr. was assigned the pole position based on NASCAR’s mathematical formula. Truex is locked into the Round of 12 after his win last weekend at Richmond. He finished fourth in the playoff opener at Darlington. Overall, he is third in the points standings.

Next to him will be his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, who won at Darlington and finished second at Richmond. He’s second in points.

MORE: NASCAR playoffs, explained

Behind Truex and Hamlin will be Joey Logano and Chase Elliott in third and fourth, respectively. They will lead the 13 drivers who will be racing for playoff spots Saturday night.

Under NASCAR’s playoff rules, the top 16 spots in Saturday’s field went to the 16 playoff drivers, but the starting order was based on the mathematical formula NASCAR has used for the majority of its races this season.

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NASCAR Cup playoff standings

Three drivers are already locked into the Round of 12 heading into the Bristol race. Denny Hamlin was the first when he won the playoff opener at Darlington. Kyle Larson (clinched on points) and Martin Truex Jr. (race winner) followed in the next race at Richmond.

The bottom four non-winning drivers after the Bristol race will be eliminated from the playoffs. The remaining 12 drivers will advance to the Round of 12, which will begin Sept. 26 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

1x-Kyle Larson2151
2x-Denny Hamlin2127
3x-Martin Truex Jr.2113
4Joey Logano2093
5Ryan Blaney2081
6Kevin Harvick2078
7Chase Elliott2072
8Christopher Bell2070
9Brad Keselowski2066
10Kyle Busch2061
11Aric Almirola2056
12Kurt Busch2053
13Alex Bowman2053
14Tyler Reddick2048
15William Byron2035
16Michael McDowell2015

x-Clinched berth in Round of 12.

NASCAR starting lineup at Bristol

NASCAR used a mathematical formula to set the starting lineup for Saturday’s playoff elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway, the Bass Pro Shops Night Race. Thirty-eight cars were entered for the race. Playoff drivers are denoted by “P-” next to their names.

Start pos.DriverCar No.Team
1P-Martin Truex Jr.19Joe Gibbs Racing
2P-Denny Hamlin11Joe Gibbs Racing
3P-Joey Logano22Team Penske
4P-Chase Elliott9Hendrick Motorsports
5P-Kyle Larson5Hendrick Motorsports
6P-Christopher Bell20Joe Gibbs Racing
7P-Ryan Blaney12Team Penske
8P-Kevin Harvick4Stewart-Haas Racing
9P-Kyle Busch18Joe Gibbs Racing
10P-Brad Keselowski2Team Penske
11P-Alex Bowman48Hendrick Motorsports
12P-Aric Almirola10Stewart-Haas Racing
13P-Tyler Reddick8Richard Childress Racing
14P-William Byron24Hendrick Motorsports
15P-Kurt Busch1Chip Ganassi Racing
16P-Michael McDowell34Front Row Motorsports
17Ross Chastain42Chip Ganassi Racing
18Austin Dillon3Richard Childress Racing
19Matt DiBenedetto21Wood Brothers Racing
20Chase Briscoe14Stewart-Haas Racing
21Daniel Suarez99Trackhouse Racing
22Erik Jones43Richard Petty Motorsports
23Ricky Stenhouse Jr.47JTG Daugherty Racing
24Ryan Newman6Roush Fenway Racing
25Chris Buescher17Roush Fenway Racing
26Cole Custer41Stewart-Haas Racing
27Ryan Preece37JTG Daugherty Racing
28Bubba Wallace2323XI Racing
29Justin Haley77Spire Motorsports
30Anthony Alfredo38Front Row Motorsports
31Corey LaJoie7Spire Motorsports
32BJ McLeod78Live Fast Motorsports
33Josh Bilicki52Rick Ware Racing
34Quin Houff00StarCom Racing
35JJ Yeley51Petty Ware Racing
36Garrett Smithley53Rick Ware Racing
37James Davison15Rick Ware Racing
38David Starr66Motorsports Business Management