Chase Elliott won the Busch Pole Award for Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway, the first of two in a weekend doubleheader. Denny Hamlin will start 2nd.
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.
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%).
NASCAR previously had used a random draw to set most of its lineups since returning in May during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has eliminated practice and qualifying on most race weekends.
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).
See the full starting lineup for Saturday’s race below.
Note: Austin Dillon is the official driver of entry for the No. 3 team, but he has not yet been medically cleared to return after self-reporting a positive COVID-19 test result. Because Dillon missed last week’s race at Daytona, he would be given “41” as his finishing position and fastest lap — it would rank worst in a 40-car field, since he did not participate in the race.
|1||Chase Elliott||9||Hendrick Motorsports|
|2||Denny Hamlin||11||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|3||Martin Truex Jr.||19||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|4||Clint Bowyer||14||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|5||Joey Logano||22||Team Penske|
|6||Jimmie Johnson||48||Hendrick Motorsports|
|7||Brad Keselowski||2||Team Penske|
|8||William Byron||24||Hendrick Motorsports|
|9||Kurt Busch||1||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|10||Kevin Harvick||4||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|11||Alex Bowman||88||Hendrick Motorsports|
|12||Chris Buescher||17||Roush Fenway Racing|
|13||Erik Jones||20||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|14||Matt DiBenedetto||21||Wood Brothers Racing|
|15||Michael McDowell||34||Front Row Motorsports|
|16||Tyler Reddick||8||Richard Childress Racing|
|17||Aric Almirola||10||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|18||Christopher Bell||95||Leavine Family Racing|
|19||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||47||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|20||Ryan Blaney||12||Team Penske|
|21||Cole Custer||41||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|22||Kyle Busch||18||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|23||Ryan Newman||6||Roush Fenway Racing|
|24||Bubba Wallace||43||Richard Petty Motorsports|
|25||Ty Dillon||13||Germain Racing|
|26||Matt Kenseth||42||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|27||Ryan Preece||37||JTG Daugherty Racing|
|28||Daniel Suarez||96||Gaunt Brothers Racing|
|29||Corey LaJoie||32||GoFas Racing|
|30||Brennan Poole||15||Premium Motorsports|
|31||John Hunter Nemechek||38||Front Row Motorsports|
|32||Austin Dillon||3||Richard Childress Racing|
|33||Timmy Hill||66||Motorsports Business Management|
|34||JJ Yeley||27||Rick Ware Racing|
|35||Quin Houff||00||StarCom Racing|
|36||Reed Sorenson||77||Spire Motorsports|
|37||Josh Bilicki||53||Rick Ware Racing|
|38||Joey Gase||51||Petty Ware Racing|
|39||Garrett Smithley||7||Tommy Baldwin Racing|
|40||BJ McLeod||78||BJ McLeod Motorsports|