NASCAR lineup at Kansas: Starting order, pole for Sunday’s playoff race without qualifying

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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.

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

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.

Pos. Driver Points
1 x-Kyle Larson 4123
2 Ryan Blaney 4072
3 Denny Hamlin 4064
4 Kyle Busch 4063
5 Chase Elliott 4055
6 Brad Keselowski 4048
7 Martin Truex Jr. 4041
8 Joey Logano 4020

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



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