Chase Elliott will start from the Cup pole position Saturday at Dover

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.

Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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.

Pos Driver Car # Team
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
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